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California COVID-19 employer resources

California COVID-19 employer resources

The governor of California 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

All Helmsman workers compensation customers doing business in California need to notify us of employees who have tested positive for COVID-19.  Please follow the link below which includes directions for reporting Covid-19 data:

To learn more about this 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 was one of two bills the Governor of California signed into law in 2020 that changed how employers and workers compensation carriers in the state handled COVID-19 cases and claims.

SB 1159 expanded access to workers’ compensation so that first responders, health care workers and people who tested positive due to an outbreak at work would get support, including necessary medical care and wage replacement benefits. It did this in several ways, including defining an “injury” to an employee to include illness or death from COVID-19, and created a “rebuttable presumption” for these groups of employees. It also required 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, required timely notification to employees and local and state public health officials of COVID-19 cases at workplaces. This notification mandated that workers take necessary precautions such as seeking testing, getting medical help or complying with quarantine directives.

Together, the bills made up the Governor’s “worker protection package” and superseded the Governor’s earlier executive order. The statutes were approved as of 9/17/20 and remain in effect  through January 1st, 2024 (Extended as a result of subsequent AB 1751).

Frequently asked questions

When did this process take effect?

All positive tests were to be reported ongoing beginning July 6, 2020.

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: