Workers’ compensation is complicated. Most years bring some modest (or sometimes major) legal and legislative changes. Employers, claims administrators, and insurance companies should all understand their responsibilities under California law. In this blog post, our Fresno workers’ compensation defense attorneys highlight four key things to know about workers’ compensation laws and regulations for 2022.
- Average Wages Jumped in 2022—Benefits May Adjust for Inflation
As a starting point, it is important to remember that workers’ compensation temporary total disability (TTD) benefits are adjusted each year to account for inflation. California’s minimum and maximum TTD are going up significantly in 2022. For a number of different reasons, there was a steep rise in average weekly wages among employees in California in 2021. The maximum TTD rate is now $1,539.71 per week. The minimum TTD rate jumped by a similar amount, up to $230.95 per week.
- WCAB Released Updated Procedural Regulations
On January 3, 2022, the California Department of Industrial Relations (DIR) officially announced that the WCAB has released some updated procedural rules for 2022. Here are some of the key things to be aware of:
- Service of process can now be done via email in certain circumstances;
- The WCAB can make any hearing electronic for the purposes of greater efficiency; and
- Parties to a workers’ compensation dispute must have correspondence prior to the start of a mandatory settlement conference.
- New Law Restricts Employer Use of Non-Disclosure Settlement Agreements
Employers should note that there is a new restriction on the use of non-disclosure provisions in certain types of settlement agreements with employees. Here is what you need to know in the context of workers’ compensation: An employer in California is generally prohibited from including a non-disclosure clause in a settlement agreement reached with an employee who alleged unlawful retaliation for the filing of a workers’ compensation claim.
- The COVID-19 Presumption Remains in Effect Until the End of the Year
Finally, it is important to emphasize that California’s temporary COVID-19 presumption for certain workers will remain in effect for the remainder of the year (2022). Under current law, this presumption is not scheduled to expire until 2023. The COVID-19 presumption holds that a worker who contracted COVID-19 will be presumed to a work-related illness if one of the following two criteria are met:
- They are a first responder or a frontline health care worker; or
- There was an “outbreak” in their workplace.
California defines an outbreak as four positive tests for employers with under 100 total workers and 4% of staff at a given location for employers with more than 100 workers.
Consult With a Workers’ Compensation Defense Lawyer in Central California
At Yrulegui & Roberts, we are driven to provide top quality, cost effective legal representation to our clients. If you have any questions about the new workers’ compensation rules and regulations for 2022, we are available to help. Contact us now for a fully confidential review of your case. Our firm serves WCAB locations throughout Central California, including in Fresno, Bakersfield, and Sacramento.