Costly Workers’ Compensation Bills Hit Policy Committees Next Week
Two bills that pose major cost implications for public agencies
will be heard in the Assembly Insurance Committee on May 6.
Assembly Bill 511, by Assembly Member Mike Gipsen, is a reintroduction of last year’s AB 2052. AB 511, like its predecessor, would increase the number of peace officers that are eligible for several presumptions – including cancer, heart trouble, and pneumonia. This is accomplished by expanding all of the current presumption laws to include all “individuals described” in several Penal Code sections regarding the definition of a peace officer. This represents a massive expansion of presumptions that will result in significant new costs for cities, counties, special districts, universities, the state, and more.
Assembly Bill 305, by Assembly Member Lorena Gonzalez, would prohibit the apportionment of permanent disability from being based on pregnancy, menopause, or osteoporosis if the condition is contemporaneous with the claimed physical injury. The bill is in response to allegations of gender bias in workers’ compensation benefits.
Apportionment is the practice of determining the extent to which an injury is industrial or non-industrial due to a pre-existing injury or condition. Apportionment is vital to ensuring employers are not forced to cover the costs of an injury that was not work related. In fact, current, restrictive Labor Code provisions make it impossible to discriminate based on gender and case law has proven that discrimination does not occur.
AB 305 would drastically increase litigation in the workers’ compensation area as well as drive up permanent disability benefit costs for counties.