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Pending legislation update…

Pending legislation update…

The California State Legislature returned from its summer recess on August 1st and is due to finish all legislation by August 31st. There are several bills that would affect public agency employers, some of which have become law or are still pending.  Two in particular could have a significant impact on public agency budgets.

SB 897 (Roth) is headed for a 3rd reading at the Assembly on August 8th.  Current law provides that certain peace officers, firefighters, and other specified public employees are entitled to a leave of absence (4850 pay) without loss of salary while disabled by injury or illness arising out of and in the course of employment, for the period of the disability, not to exceed one year. The leave of absence is in lieu of temporary disability payments or maintenance allowance payments otherwise payable under the workers’ compensation system.

This bill would allow certain employees of local agencies, including police officers, firefighters, and sheriffs, an additional year of 4850 when injured by a catastrophic injury at the hands of another, such as a shooting or stabbing, or as a result of the collapse of a building.

This would increase the cost of 4850 in some cases and delay by a year the protected leave of police and fire personnel, meaning that among other things, an employer could not initiate a disability retirement of the employee under CalPERS rules until up to two years after the injury.  For most police and fire departments, this means a two-year public safety vacancy.

AB 1643 (Gonzalez) Is at the appropriations committee.  It would prohibit apportionment of permanent disability, in the case of a physical injury occurring on or after January 1, 2017, from being based on pregnancy, menopause, osteoporosis, or carpal tunnel syndrome. The bill would also prohibit apportionment of permanent disability, in the case of a psychiatric injury occurring on or after January 1, 2017, from being based on psychiatric disability or impairment caused by any of those conditions.

This would result in an increase in permanent disability exposure by limiting apportionment to some preexisting or non-industrial factors.

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