Workers’ compensation provides vital benefits to workers injured at work. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has added a new dimension to the considerations of workers and their safety.
Over the next few weeks, we will cover the coronavirus pandemic’s wide-ranging effect on the lives of workers across California. Our focus will be the law itself and what it requires businesses and individuals to do to secure workers’ compensation. Let’s begin with some basics that everyone should understand about benefits available to injured or sick workers.
An overview of workers’ compensation in California
The state requires that employers carry workers’ compensation insurance to cover their employees after work injuries. To that end, it provides workers with:
- Medical care: Workers’ compensation covers all reasonable costs for injuries at work, from initial treatment to surgeries to rehab. This includes transportation to and from appointments.
- Wage replacement: If an injury means you cannot work as you usually would, workers’ compensation will provide you with some portion of your expected salary. While the exact amount is variable based on many factors, you will not have to face your recovery without income.
- Death benefits: If an individual dies of an injury or illness contracted at work, their family receives compensation as a result. The amount here is also variable, depending on the number of dependents.
These benefits are available to those injured or those who have become sick at work. This, of course, is significant considering the dire health emergency and the drastic working conditions facing millions of Californians.
How did workers’ compensation handle the coronavirus?
California’s workers were the buoy many people looked to for the last year. Under risky conditions, they worked to keep the rest of the state afloat. That work came at a significant cost, and many contracted the coronavirus as a result. And while workers’ compensation covers illnesses contracted at work, it is traditionally more challenging to receive those benefits.
And that’s where we will begin our discussion this Friday: the first steps taken by California to protect vulnerable workers.