AB 845: COVID-19 Presumption for Disability Retirement

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AB 845: COVID-19 Presumption for Disability Retirement

August 05, 2021
  • AB 845 temporarily expands eligibility for a disability retirement under the retirement systems governed by the California Public Employees’ Pension Reform Act of 2013 (PEPRA)

On July 23, 2021, Governor Gavin Newsom signed into law AB 845 (Chapter 122, Statutes of 2021), a bill that will temporarily create a rebuttable presumption with regard to disability retirement due to COVID-19 that applies to members of public retirement systems in California.

Under California’s public retirement systems, a disability retirement is available regardless of the member’s age when the member suffers an injury that arose out of or during the normal course and performance of job duties and the injury is such that the member can no longer perform their job duties. This bill expands eligibility for a disability retirement under the retirement systems governed by the California Public Employees’ Pension Reform Act of 2013 (PEPRA) by adding COVID-19 as a factor for two specified groups of public employees:

  1. Active firefighting members, peace officers, employees providing direct patient care in health facilities and providers of in-home support services (as defined by Labor Code § 3212.87); and
  2. Any public employees who test positive for COVID-19 during an outbreak at their place of employment (as defined by Labor Code § 3212.88).

For a worker in the above categories who retires for disability on the basis of a COVID-19 related illness, there will be a presumption that the disability arose out of or in the course of the worker’s employment. The presumption can be rebutted by the employer if there is evidence that the worker may have more likely contracted the virus outside the workplace. This provision goes into effect on January 1, 2022 and will remain in effect until January 1, 2023.


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