On May 6, 2020 Gov. Gavin Newson signed an executive order N-62-20 making it easier for essential workers who contract COVID-19 to obtain workers’ compensations benefits. Based on the Executive Order all COVID-19-related illness of an essential worker will be presumed to be steaming out of and in the course of the employment to award workers’ compensation benefits.
Obtaining this benefit may not be as easy as it appears, to qualify the employee would have to satisfy certain requirements and some of them are not easy to fulfill or prove; i.e. the executive order requires that the “employee tested positive for or was diagnosed with COVID-19 within 14 days after a day that the employee performed labor or services at the employee’s place of employment at the employer’s direction”.
The executive order eliminates, right away, all those employees teleworking and non-essential workers due to the phrase, under subparagraph (b), “on which the employee performed labor or services at the employee’s place of employment at the employer’s direction was on or after March 19, 2020” that was after the shelter in place orders. That part eliminates many people, to win one of these cases may not be as easy as it sounds.
The executive order also says, under paragraph 2, that everything in the executive order is disputable, “and may be controverted by other evidence, but unless so controverted, the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board is bound to find in accordance with it. This presumption shall only apply to dates of injury occurring through 60 days following the date of this Order.” The Executive Order is not clear how it will apply or how workers will prove their WC cases and have access to Workers’ Compensation Benefits for Coronavirus. This Executive Order will be in effect for 60 days from its issuance, or until July 5, 2020.
There is a lot of ambiguity in the Executive Order N-62-20. However, there is one important rule you need to follow: You need to notify your workers compensation carrier immediately if you received a WC claim. If a denial is not issued within 30 days after the claim is filed then the illness will be presumed compensable unless rebutted by evidence discovered only subsequent to the 30-day period