On May 6, California Governor Gavin Newsome announced that employees working in the state who become infected with novel coronavirus COVID-19 while on the job may be eligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits. The same day he signed an executive order which eased restrictions of the workers’ compensation claims process, allowing those infected with the virus to receive benefits more easily than usual.
The executive order streamlined the claims process as well as established a presumption that any “essential” workers infected with COVID-19 contracted the virus on the job.
Essential workers in California include, but are not limited to:
- Agriculture workers
- Food service employees
- Home services professionals
- Hospital and health care workers
- Nursing home and elder care staff
- Transportation workers
You can see the full list of essential employees here.
Those who work in “non-essential” fields, such as retail clerks and hairdressers, may also be able to receive workers’ compensation benefits. But, without the presumption in place, the process may be slightly more difficult.
The Importance of Workers’ Comp During a Pandemic
Since the beginning of the year, over 1.4 million people have been infected with COVID-19 in the U.S. and more than 80,000 of them have died. The novel coronavirus is contagious and deadly enough to have shut down much of the United States economy in the months since it was declared a pandemic in March.
Many people, especially but not exclusively those who work in essential fields, have had to grapple with the fact that they must go to work to make a living, even though doing so puts them at a higher risk of coming down with the virus. The new executive order provides a valuable safety net for them.
Receiving workers’ comp during a pandemic is of vital importance because the benefits:
- Prevent people with the disease from going into work and passing the virus to others
- Protect individuals who are sick from continuing to work which can worsen their condition
- Provide people the funds they need to afford food and other necessities while unable to work
Now, more than ever, we all have to look out for each other. We are glad that the workers’ compensation process has been simplified so those who need it may enjoy the benefits. If you need assistance filing a workers’ compensation claim, appealing a denied claim, or simply have questions, feel free to reach out.
Have your or a loved one contracted COVID-19 on the job? Whether your field is classified as essential or non-essential, we can help. Our Santa Ana workers’ compensation attorneys have been getting California residents the benefits they deserve since 1964. Contact us today to learn more by calling (714) 909-2609 or writing to us online.