As the state of California continues to deal with the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, the State Compensation Insurance Fund (State Fund) has announced that it will establish two separate funds to help support workplace safety and the health and recovery of essential workers during this crisis.
At Sacks & Zolonz, LLP, our Los Angeles workers compensation defense attorneys are dedicated to helping clients understand their responsibilities when it comes to these issues. Here, we want to discuss what these two funds will accomplish.
The State Fund Has announced the establishment of two funds in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis in California.
The state has allocated $25 million designed to support all State Fund policyholders’ essential workers who contract COVID-19 or have been ordered to self-isolate due to possible COVID-19 exposure. An essential worker will be defined per Governor Newsom’s Executive Order N-33-20.
This fund is designed to provide wage replacement for up to six weeks while also assisting any essential worker who does not have health coverage. For essential workers with health coverage, the fund will assist with copayments and deductibles, along with the aforementioned six weeks of wage replacement.
This fund will cover essential workers even if there is any legal uncertainty about whether their COVID-19 diagnosis arose from the course of their employment. This fund will not impact a worker’s ability to pursue full workers’ compensation benefits.
This fund has allocated $25 million to assist State Fund policyholders that have been identified as essential businesses per the same executive order mentioned above. This fund provides grants to qualified businesses in an attempt to help them defray costs of “safety-related expenses, planned or already incurred, related to protecting their workforces from COVID-19.”
In these cases, individual grants can total up to $10,000 or two times the policyholder’s premium, whichever is less.
As we have mentioned over the last few weeks, it is vital for employers to continue to pay their workers’ compensation premiums for all employees. This is an unprecedented situation for everybody in this state, but please understand that the laws will be enforced. There are serious penalties for employers who fail to provide workers’ compensation insurance for all employees. If your workforce has transitioned to a more remote-style situation, this still counts as employment. If you are considering changing worker classification (from employee to an independent contractor), be aware that there are legal ramifications to misclassifying workers.
If you own a business in California, we understand that this is an incredibly difficult time for you and your workers. At Sacks & Zolonz, LLP, we are dedicated to helping clients understand their legal responsibilities when it comes to workers’ compensation insurance. If you have any questions about the issues discussed here, or any issues related to workers’ compensation and your business, contact us today for a consultation of your case by clicking here or calling 310-216-7778.