California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed legislation establishing a workers’ compensation presumption which will apply to employers with more than 5 employees who have a COVID-19 outbreak through 2022.

SB 1159 shifts the burden of proof to presume covered workers who contracted COVID-19 did so at work, unless the employer can prove otherwise. In addition, it creates a disputable presumption “the injury arose out of and in the course of the employment and is compensable, for specified dates of injury”.  This new legislation also applies to first responders and certain health care workers. The employee is entitled to “full hospital, surgical, medical treatment, disability indemnity, and death benefits” paid through workers’ compensation benefits.

Burden of Proof

Employers can provide burden of proof with evidence such as the following:

  1. Measures in place to reduce potential transmission of COVID-19 in the employee’s place of employment
  2. Employee’s non-occupational risks of COVID-19 infection
  3. Statements made by the employee
  4. Any other evidence normally used to dispute a work-related injury.

Conditions for Presumption to Apply

The following conditions must exist for the presumption to apply:

  • The employee tests positive for COVID-19 within 14 days after a day that the employee performed labor or services at the employee’s place of employment at the employer’s direction.
  • The day on which the employee performed labor or services at the employee’s place of employment at the employer’s direction was on or after July 6, 2020.
  • The employee’s positive test occurred during a period of an outbreak at the employee’s specific place of employment.

Under SB 1159, a “specific place employment” specifically excludes an employee’s home or residence, unless the employee performs home health care services at a home or residence.

Finally, the law requires employers to provide notice to their workers’ compensation carrier of employees who test positive for COVID-19. SB 1159 was enacted as an “urgency” measure and therefore went into effect immediately.

How Can We Help

ThermaScreen, provided by Time Equipment Company, is an access control device with built-in face recognition which can first be used to check for mask compliance.  The included Infra-red Thermal reader gives an instant thermal read-out of temporal temperature. This can be used even if the person is wearing a mask. Every facial scan is recorded and saved internally in the device for record-keeping.

ThermaScreen can be used as a stand-alone device or it can be integrated into Attendance on Demand time and attendance solution as well as most any access control system.  ThermaScreen also connects easily into security systems, using RFID access cards.

For more information on ThermaScreen, contact Time Equipment Company at 800-977-8463 or

*This product is not intended to diagnose or monitor any medical condition or illness, and it should not be used as such. The product is supplied as a first-line filter for organizations that wish to identify those entering premises who may have an elevated body temperature. It is then for the organization to determine how that information is used, and the appropriate reaction to that information. Competent medical advice should be sought if there are concerns around illness, and further checks will be required.