PLEASANTON: State Compensation Insurance Fund (State Fund) announced today that it will establish two new funds to support the health and recovery of essential workers and workplace safety during the COVID-19 crisis.
The first fund, called the Essential Worker Support Fund, is a $25-million relief fund designed to support State Fund policyholders’ essential workers, as defined by Governor Newsom’s Executive Order N-33-20, who contract COVID-19 or are ordered to self-isolate due to a potential exposure.
The fund will provide assistance with wage replacement up to 6 weeks and assist any worker without health coverage with uncovered medical costs. For workers who have health coverage, the fund will assist with copayments and deductibles, as well as up to 6 weeks of wage replacement.
State Fund will offer assistance regardless of any potential legal uncertainty about whether the COVID-19 diagnosis arose from the essential worker’s employment and will not impact the worker’s ability to pursue full workers’ compensation benefits. Any COVID-19 claim that is clearly work related will receive full workers’ compensation benefits and not draw down on this fund. If the fund is depleted, State Fund’s Board of Directors will consider authorizing additional funds.
Any payments State Fund makes that are outside of a workers’ compensation claim will not impact the policyholder’s experience modification.
The second fund, called the Essential Business Support Fund, is a $25-million fund designed to assist State Fund policyholders that are essential businesses as defined by Governor Newsom’s Executive Order N-33-20. The fund will provide grants to qualified policyholders to help defray the costs of safety-related expenses, planned or already incurred, related to protecting their workforces from COVID-19. Individual grants can total up $10,000 or two times the policyholder’s premium, whichever is less. State Fund will review grant applications on a first-come, first-served basis, and will discontinue payments when the $25 million fund is depleted. However, State Fund will keep all applications in the order they were received in the case that additional funds become available.
“Our mission is to help California businesses and workers in any way we can,” said State Fund President and CEO Vern Steiner. “We have worked hard to put ourselves in a position to be able to help Californians when we are needed and we are extremely grateful to the essential workers and businesses that are supporting all of us through this crisis.
These two funds, along with our earlier actions to suspend policy cancellations and extend credit to businesses impacted by COVID-19, are our initial attempts to do our part. Throughout our country we are seeing incredible examples of businesses putting social good ahead of their bottom line, and we will continue to look for ways we can help.”
State Fund’s Board of Directors will meet on Friday, April 17, to review the impacts of COVID-19 on State Fund policyholders and injured workers and to consider additional ways to provide support.