Workers’ Compensation “Hot” Bills
August 9, 2018
Legislators are seeking a number of changes to workers’ compensation law, and counties, as employers, have a vested interest in these efforts. CSAC has been actively engaged on the following bills, currently moving through the Legislature, which impose new employer mandates in addition to increased costs.
AB 1749 (Daly) – Workers’ comp coverage for off-duty peace officers
Would state that an employer, at its discretion, is not precluded from accepting liability for an injury sustained by a peace officer while off-duty and outside the state of California, provided the injury is related to the apprehension of law violators or the protection of life and property. The bill would apply retroactively to include claims associated with the October 2017 Las Vegas shooting, giving employers the option to bear the liability or not.
This represents an improvement from the bill’s previous iteration which would have mandated that employers assume the liability associated with off-duty peace officers; however, it could prove problematic depending on how employer agencies’ policies are drafted.
AB 553 (Daly) – Workers’ comp return-to-work program
Would require the Division of Workers’ Compensation (DWC) Director to annually expend the $120 million in the Return-to-Work (RTW) Fund, based on equal shares to each eligible worker.
The author recently amended the bill to shift responsibility for identifying and notifying eligible injured workers to the employer, and imposing penalties for failure to do so.
CSAC has concerns over the administrative responsibility under the new amendments and the general premise that awards are given not based on need but the number of other claimants in a given year.
SB 1086 (Atkins) – Workers’ comp death benefits for police and fire
Would delete the sunset on a law that provides an extended statute of limitations for workers’ compensation death benefits payable to the survivors of public safety officers who die as a result of work-related cancer or other specified diseases.
Instead of deleting the sunset, CSAC and other local government partners are requesting that the sunset be extended another five years to allow time for the Division of Workers’ Compensation to complete their study of the program. See the most recent coalition letter for more details.