Under new state law, employees who test positive for COVID-19 or experienced an outbreak on the job may be entitled to workers’ compensation.

The statute newly defines an injury to an employee carrying out job duties to include illness or death resulting from the coronavirus under specific circumstances though 2023.

Employers will define an outbreak using specific reporting requirements for positive tests.

The law puts the legal burden on the employer to show that the employee did not become ill on the job.

Under the law’s disputable presumption provision, companies with five or more employees must prove that the illness was unrelated to on-the-job activities.

Presumption provision applies to dental practices with 5-100 employees when there are four or more positive cases within two weeks. For larger companies, the threshold is 4 percent infection of the workforce.

If employees make a claim under the new guidelines, they must exhaust all COVID-19 related leave first before entering the workers’ compensation system for loss of wages.

Employers will work with workers’ compensation claim administrators to provide reports on the timing and number of positive cases regardless of where the employee is believed to have been infected.

Any positive report between July 6 and Sept. 17 must be retroactively reported. All other cases and pertinent information such as dates and addresses must be reported within three business days.

*All information is according to the California Dental Association

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