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California COVID-19 employer resources - Helmsman

California COVID-19 employer resources

The governor of California just signed new laws affecting workers compensation. These resources can help you understand and comply with the laws and what they require of employers, carriers and third-party administrators.

Current action needed: Employer notification of all COVID-positive employees

Effective immediately, all Helmsman Management Services workers compensation customers doing business in California need to notify us of employees who have tested positive for COVID-19:

  • Contact us via our dedicated email box to request our  CA SB 1159 form. We will email you a form that you can use to enter and record multiple notifications at once.
  • Complete the form(s) with case details as necessary and required by law. This includes:
    • For every employee who tests positive and their places of employment, with the following limitations:
      • A “positive test” according to the law includes any test approved by the FDA for emergency use. This does not include antibody tests.
      • For the purpose of notification, a “specific place of employment” does not include an employee’s home or residence.
      • Please do not include employee names in this notification form.
    • Retroactively, for all employees who have tested positive since July 6, 2020
  • Email those forms to
  • If you need further assistance with the form, call our California COVID-19 Customer Service Line at 888-638-3461.


Request form

To learn more about this new law and our measures to manage notifications and claims changes, read our new FAQ and guide:

What is SB 1159?

California Senate Bill (SB) 1159 is one of two bills the Governor of California recently signed into law that change how employers and workers compensation carriers and third-party administrators in the state handle COVID-19 cases and claims.

SB 1159 expands access to workers’ compensation so that first responders, health care workers and people who test positive due to an outbreak at work get support, including necessary medical care and wage replacement benefits. It does this in several ways, including defining an “injury” to an employee to include illness or death from COVID-19, and creating a “rebuttable presumption” for these groups of employees. It also requires that employers notify their insurance carriers and/or third-party administrators of employee positive COVID-19 tests in writing to help identify outbreaks at workplaces.

The other bill, Assembly Bill (AB) 685, requires timely notification to employees and local and state public health officials of COVID-19 cases at workplaces. This notification mandates that workers take necessary precautions such as seeking testing, getting medical help or complying with quarantine directives.

Together, the bills make up the governor’s “worker protection package” and supersede the Governor’s earlier executive order. The statutes take effect immediately and remain in effect through January 1, 2023.

Frequently asked questions

When does this new process take effect?

Please start using the form immediately. The form is also required retroactively for all positive tests beginning July 6, 2020. The statue specifies those retroactive notifications are due no later than  October 17, 2020.

Do I need to fill out a form for every case?

You can input multiple notifications into a single form.

If I previously used the form to notify you of a positive test for a work-related case, do I need to file a claim?

Yes, the law requires the notifications to include different information from a claim report, so both are needed.

Do I need to submit a notification via the form if I have already submitted a claim?

Yes, the law requires the notifications to include different information from a claim report, so both are needed.

Do I need to submit a notification of a positive test if the employee is not alleging that their positive test is work related?

Yes. The notification is required even if the employee’s case isn’t work-related.

The bill states for purposes of this type of reporting, the employer shall not provide any personally identifiable information. What information is needed?

The notification form includes all the required information.

How does this affect my specific claim?

We handle each claim in accordance with the facts of the case, policies in force, and relevant laws and regulations. For information on a specific claim, contact your workers compensation claims specialist.

For more information

Visit the California legislative information site to read the bills:

Download FAQs

The foregoing information is for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for legal advice from a licensed attorney, nor does it create an attorney-client relationship. The illustrations, instructions, and principles contained in the material are general in scope and for marketing purposes. Our risk control services are advisory only. We assume no responsibility for: managing or controlling customer safety activities, implementing any recommended corrective measures, or identifying all potential hazards.