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Castillo: Remember Their Faces

  • State: California
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With the rebuttable presumption enacted by Gov. Gavin Newsom having expired on July 5, millions of essential workers are counting on the state Legislature to act quickly to pass new protections as COVID-19 cases spike across California.

Michael Castillo

Michael Castillo

As the Legislature reconvenes, efforts are underway to extend or establish a new rebuttable presumption for workers’ compensation benefits should an essential employee become infected with COVID-19 on the job.

According to the UC Berkeley Labor Center, in eight of the top 15 essential occupations, over 50% of those frontline jobs are low-wage. For farmworkers, janitors and building cleaners, cashiers and personal care aides, the percentage of low-wage jobs in those occupations is 71% or higher.

These workers are putting their lives on the line every day to keep our communities functioning.

It’s imperative we enact a presumption as soon as possible to ensure these Californians are covered under workers’ compensation and can receive prompt medical treatment through no expense of their own.

On July 2, The New York Times published “Portraits of Essential California Workers.” Click here to watch a video highlighting some of these essential heroes.

As members of the Legislature consider legislation to establish a rebuttable presumption in the coming days, we’re asking that they remember these faces and take the necessary steps to ensure they’re protected.

Michael Castillo is communications director for the California Applicants' Attorneys Association. This opinion is republished, with permission, from the CAAA website.

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