California state law requires private employers to ensure that they obtain no-fault workers’ compensation insurance coverage for their employees. For private employers that deal directly with the federal government—specifically those in California that provide services to military bases—there are other laws that can also impact their responsibilities.

Military contractors in California that provide services to overseas federal military bases should be aware of a law called the Defense Base Act. In this article, our California workers’ compensation defense lawyer provides an overview of the Defense Base Act.

What is the Defense Base Act?

The Defense Base Act (DBA) is a federal law enacted in 1941 that provides protection and coverage for civilian employees working overseas on United States military bases or under a contract with the U.S. government for public works or national defense. It was put into place to address the problem of private workers falling outside of workers’ compensation schemes.

In effect, the law effectively extends workers’ compensation coverage to these employees for injuries suffered on the job, regardless of their location worldwide. As a military contractor based in California that provides workers to international bases, it is essential to be aware of the specifics of this act. To be clear, the Defense Base Act is for overseas military facilities.

Note: If you are a contractor that provides staff for a military facility in California, those employees must be covered by workers’ compensation consistent with California state law.

Defense Base Act: An Employer’s Responsibility When an Injury Happens

When an employee suffers a job-related injury or illness, you must facilitate the claims process. First, the employer should provide immediate medical assistance. You are also required to report the incident promptly to the U.S. Department of Labor using Form LS-202, the Employer’s First Report of Injury or Occupational Illness.

The DBA outlines specific time frames for claim submissions. Failure to comply with these can result in fines and legal issues. It is recommended that employers maintain open lines of communication with their employees and insurance carriers throughout the claims process to ensure prompt and adequate compensation.

The Bottom Line: Private employers in California that provide staff to U.S. military facilities under federal contracts must comply with the terms of the agreement and applicable state and federal regulations. If the facility is in California, the worker is generally covered by California workers’ compensation. If the facility is outside of the United States, the Defense Base Act applies.

Set Up a Confidential Consultation with a California Workers’ Compensation Defense Lawyer Today

At Yrulegui & Roberts, we are committed to helping insurance companies, employers, and claims administrators find the best solution for their situation across a wide range of workers’ compensation matters. Have questions about the Defense Base Act and workers’ compensation in California? We are ready to help. Contact us today to set up your completely private workers’ compensation defense case review.  Our firm represents employers in Fresno, Sacramento, Bakersfield, and throughout California.