State News : California

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By:  Jeannette Herrera (Partner - Sacramento)

On June 29, 2022, the Senate Committee on Labor, Public Employment and Retirement voted 4 to 1 to pass Assembly Bill 1751, which extends the COVID-19 presumptions through January 1, 2025 for specified first responders and when there is an outbreak.  AB 1751 has now been re-referred to the Appropriations Committee.  Senate Bill 1159 initially enacted these presumptions.     

California Assembly Member Tom Daly (Anaheim) first introduced AB 1751 on February 1, 2022. 

SB 1159, enacted in September of 2020, created within the Labor Code a rebuttable presumption for COVID-19 illnesses contracted before July 5, 2020 (§ 3212.86), for specified peace officers and firefighters (§ 3212.87), and during an outbreak (§ 3212.88). AB 1751 would amend the expiration date of these Labor Code sections from January 1, 2023 to January 1, 2025.

Proposed AB 1751 would do nothing more than extend the expiration date of these sections by two years. Specifically, there are no other amendments other than to replace "2023" with "2025" in these three sections.

Like SB 1159, AB 1751 would place the burden on California employers to prove that specified employees did not contract COVID-19 at work. These presumptions can be disputed by, among other things, evidence of employer measures in place to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission and by evidence of an employee’s non-occupational risk of COVID-19 infection. The bill will go back to appropriations and then to the Senate floor before a final vote.

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