California Governor Gavin Newsom's Executive Order N-62-20 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic effectively means that a nanny, senior caregiver or other household employee with test-confirmed COVID-19 illness will be presumptively compensable by workers’ compensation.
HWS encourages clients to review your Workers' Compensation Insurance coverage with a licensed insurance agent to insure you have the proper protections in place for yourselves and your household employees.
What are the California Workers' Compensation Rules for Household Employers?
Under California law, anyone employing a full or part time household employee, such as a nanny, housekeeper or senior caregiver must have workers' compensation insurance. Exempted are employees who worked less than 52 hours in the 90 days prior to the injury (or illness in the case of COVID-19). Fortunately, obtaining Workers' Compensation Insurance is quite easy in California, as it is generally a rider added to your homeowner's or renter's insurance policy. Failing to obtain the workers' compensation insurance rider or policy is a criminal offense in California.
What does the Executive Order N-62-20 Mean?
The Executive Order states that any COVID-19-related illness of an employee between 19 March and 5 July 2020 "shall be presumed to arise out of and in the course of the employment for purposes of awarding workers’ compensation benefits if..."
- The nanny or other household worker tests positive for COVID-19 within 14 days of work (exempting remote workers); or
- The nanny or other household worker is diagnosed with COVID-19 by a licensed physician within 14 days after performing work and that diagnosis is confirmed by further testing within 30 days of the diagnosis.
- The COVID-19 effected household worker is "eligible for all benefits applicable under the workers’ compensation laws of this state, including full hospital, surgical, medical treatment, disability indemnity, and death benefits."
Does this Rule Mean Anything for Household Employers Outside California?
It is a best practice for all household employers to carry Workers' Compensation Liability Insurance, and it is imperative in the 38 states where it is required under law. In this new era of COVID-19 employers need to be extra careful to establish sound workplace hygiene and sanitation practices, to immediately separate sick family members and/or household employees from healthy and to relax sick leave policies so a mildly ill nanny or senior caregiver doesn't prioritize her paycheck over health.
Many states have issued executive orders regarding Workers' Compensation liability in relationship to COVID-19. It is a moving target, and the resources below from the National Council on Compensation insurance are helpful. HWS encourages clients to review your Workers' Compensation Insurance coverage with a licensed insurance agent to insure you have the proper protections in place for yourselves and your household employees.
The National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI) has a very useful COVID-19 and Workers Compensation FAQ and a State by State Overview of COVID-19 Presumption Rules.