A law that requires California employers to report cases of COVID-19 in their workplace to their workers’ compensation carrier sunsets on Jan. 1, 2024, removing a requirement that many business owners say has become more difficult to comply with in the post-pandemic era.
AB 1751 requires “rebuttable presumption” for workers’ comp purposes for COVID-19, meaning that some cases were deemed work-related under certain circumstances, requiring employers to report them to their insurer.
The end of mandatory reporting spells the expiration of employer-related outbreak reporting and shortened compensability decisions.
With a presumption of compensability, a workers’ COVID-19 infection has been presumed to be work-related and the employer has had the burden to rebut the presumption. But, once the presumption expires, the burden will be on the injured worker to provide a “preponderance of evidence” that their work puts them at greater risk of contracting COVID-19 than when they are away from work.
Another related law which requires employers to provide notice to employees and others who may have been exposed to COVID-19 in the workplace, also sunsets on Jan. 1. The law has required employers to either provide individual notice of exposure or simply post a notice in the workplace for 15 days after there has been exposure in a worksite.
Despite AB 1751’s sunset, workers’ comp attorneys advise employers to continue reporting any cases to their carriers when a worker says they contracted the disease at work. Even if you feel they didn’t catch it on the job, under workers’ compensation rules you are required to report allegations for work-related injuries or illnesses.