Recent Changes to California Workers Comp Laws
As former California Governor Jerry Brown turned over the keys to the governor’s mansion to newly elected Governor Gavin Newsom in January of 2019, the change of administration brought with it some uncertainty with respect to what policy changes may be in store for California’s Workers Comp system.
Personnel Changes within the Workers Comp System
In addition to having a new governor, California has seen some significant changes in personnel at the top levels of the Workers Comp system. Christine Baker, former Director of the Department of Industrial Relations, resigned early in 2018, and Andre Schoorl was appointed acting director. Shortly before he left office, two other vacancies on the WCAB were filled by Governor Brown, who appointed Juan Pedro Gaffney and Katherine Williams Dodd to fill the open slots.
New 2018 Workers Comp Laws
Although 2018 did not see any significant legislative reforms, there were a number of bills signed by Governor Brown that either directly or indirectly affected Workers Comp benefits.
AB 1749 clarifies that if a peace officer was injured out of the state of California but still in the scope of his or her employment, that officer would be eligible to receive Workers Comp benefits at the employing entity’s discretion.
AB 2046 requires governmental agencies to share anti-fraud information. It allows the Fraud Assessment Commission to appropriate assessed amounts that are not used in a given fiscal year and that have not otherwise been appropriated, to augment or to be applied to the immediately following fiscal year.
AB 2334, among other things, requires an employer to maintain strong workplace injury and illness reporting practices, and tightens monitoring and implementation regarding electronic submission of workplace injury and illness data.
AB 2802 creates additional requirements and establishes additional methods to intercept insurance payments when appropriate to satisfy child support obligations.
SB 880 allows employers to conduct a pilot program that would offer a prepaid card instead of paper checks to pay disability indemnity benefits.
SB 1086 eliminates a “sunset clause” on the extended statute of limitations for Workers Comp death benefits paid to the survivors of public safety officers who died as a result of cancer or specified diseases, the cause of which was determined to have been work related.
Several Workers Comp-related Bills were Vetoed
Before he left office, Governor Brown vetoed several Workers Comp related bills:
AB 553 would have mandated that the total amount of the $120 million Return to Work Fund be disbursed on an annual basis.
SB 899 would have excluded using race, gender and national origin in terms of apportionment factors.
AB 1697 would have specified certain requirements for, and establish an anti-fraud analytics unit at the DWC.
AB 2496 would have detailed what constitutes an “employee” with respect to janitorial workers.
Governor Newsom was sworn into office in January of 2019, and so it is far too soon to tell what changes he may propose to the Workers Comp system. Our workers comp attorneys continue to watch for any trends, laws or rulings that may impact our clients.
Long Beach Workers Comp Attorneys
If you were injured or made ill in the workplace, we recommend that you speak with an experienced workers comp attorney immediately. Even if you are currently receiving workers comp benefits, it is a good idea to get some legal advice to protect your rights going into the future- especially with all of the recent upheaval in workers’ comp laws and legislation.
An experienced workers compensation attorney can help you identify minor issues before they become major problems – and make sure that you not only receive your benefits now, but for years to come.
Your consultation with our workers’ comp attorneys is 100% confidential, and neither your employer nor your insurance company will be notified that you requested a consultation with us. Our attorneys will help you understand your rights and work tirelessly to ensure that you receive the maximum workers’ comp benefits for which you qualify.
Call our Workers Compensation Attorneys for a FREE CONSULTATION: 800-964-8047