Summary of 2024 Changes to COVID-19 Provisions

Keenan Briefings

Briefings

Summary of 2024 Changes to COVID-19 Provisions

December 20, 2023

As the end of 2023 quickly approaches, some of the enacted COVID-19 regulations will end. However, even though some regulations are ending, others will remain in place. It is important for employers to keep up to date with these changes. Below is a summary of some of the changes happening in 2024.

AB 1751 Rebuttable Presumptions Are Ending

In 2022, AB 1751 (Chapter 758, Statutes of 2022) was passed as an extension to the provisions relating to COVID-19 set by SB 1159 (Chapter 85, Statutes of 2020). The bills created disputable presumptions that COVID-19 is considered a work related injury under workers compensation law and further presumed that the injury arose out of and in the course of the employment and therefore compensable. The COVID-19 presumption provisions would remain in effect until January 1, 2024.

Since 2020, employers have been required to report positive COVID-19 cases to Keenan via Ultra ClaimsONLINE regardless of if the employee was alleging a work-related illness, so long as they were working on the employer’s worksite during the infectious period. In addition, if the employee was alleging the illness was work related, the claim would need to be reported to Keenan separately.

Because the presumption ends on January 1, 2024, how should COVID-19 injuries be treated after that date? Although it is unclear whether there will be another extension to the presumption, moving forward, COVID-19 claims should be treated under traditional workers’ compensation regulations. This places the burden back on the injured worker to prove that COVID-19 arose out of and in the course of employment. Furthermore, effective January 1, 2024, employers are no longer required to report positive COVID-19 cases to Keenan unless the illness is being alleged as work related. In those cases, a workers’ compensation claim should be filed on behalf of the employee. It would be important, as outlined below, to continue to maintain a record of positive cases to determine compensability of COVID-19 alleged illnesses even without the presumption.

Record Keeping and Reporting Duties

In 2020, AB 685 (Chapter 84, Statutes of 2020) and later amended in 2021 via AB 654 (Chapter 522, Statutes of 2021), was passed and required employers to notify employees who may have been exposed to COVID-19 and report workplace outbreaks to the local health department. However, these provisions were repealed on January 1, 2023.

Furthermore, Labor Code § 6409.6 required the employer to provide written notice to its employees who were on the premises at the same worksite as the confirmed case of COVID-19 within the infectious period in a manner the employer normally uses to communicate employment related information. The employer was also required to maintain records of the written notifications for a period of at least three years. However, the provisions under Labor Code 6409.6 are set to be repealed on January 1, 2024.

Although the provisions stated in AB 685, AB 654, and Labor Code 6409.6 have been repealed, employers are still responsible for certain record keeping and reporting duties under the Cal-OSHA Non-Emergency Standards (8 CCR § 3205).

Employers must keep a record of and track all COVID-19 cases with the employee’s name, contact information, location where the employee worked, last day the employee worked at the workplace, and the date of the positive test or diagnosis. These records are to be kept for two years from the date the record is created. However, the record keeping provision will be in place until February 3, 2026.

Reporting Duties to Local Health Departments

Although reporting requirements to local health departments ended on January 1, 2023, employers should also be aware of their local health department reporting requirements. Some local health departments, such as Los Angeles County, are still requiring the employer report COVID-19 cases where there are a certain number of specified linked COVID-19 cases among an exposed group within a specific time.

If you have questions about the changes to COVID-19 regulations, please contact your Keenan Risk Management Analyst

Keenan is not a law firm and no opinion, suggestion, or recommendation of the firm or its employees shall constitute legal advice. Clients are advised to consult with their own attorney for a determination of their legal rights, responsibilities, and liabilities, including the interpretation of any statute or regulation, or its application to the clients’ business activities.