CalChamber Issues Statement on Governor’s Workers’ Compensation Announcement

The California Chamber of Commerce issued the following statement following Governor Gavin Newsom’s briefing today:

“It appears that the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Program provides federally funded benefits to an existing employee who is experiencing symptoms of coronavirus and cannot go to work. The Executive Order issued today will unnecessarily and significantly drive up costs for California employers through increased workers’ compensation insurance rates at a time when they are struggling to keep Californians employed.

“It seems that the Governor’s goals can be achieved using federal dollars without placing even more financial strain on California employers. Imposing a legal presumption that any employee who contracts the coronavirus is covered by workers’ compensation benefits shifts the cost of this pandemic to employers.

“Recently, the Workers’ Compensation Insurance Rating Bureau released a study which found the annual cost of COVID-19 claims on ECI workers under a conclusive presumption ranges from $2.2 billion to $33.6 billion with an approximate mid-range estimate of $11.2 billion, or 61% of the annual estimated cost of the total workers’ compensation system prior to the impact of the pandemic.

“The private sector did not cause this crisis and it should not be the safety net used to pay for this crisis–that is the role of government.”


The California Chamber of Commerce (CalChamber) is the largest broad-based business advocate to government in California.  Membership represents one-quarter of the private sector jobs in California and includes firms of all sizes and companies from every industry within the state.  Leveraging our front-line knowledge of laws and regulations, we provide products and services to help businesses comply with both federal and state law.  CalChamber, a not-for-profit organization with roots dating to 1890, promotes international trade and investment in order to stimulate California’s economy and create jobs.  Please visit our website at