There’s no doubt that nurses and other front-line health care employees are at risk of suffering a wide variety of injuries and illnesses – both physical and emotional. This is just part of the reason why California, like states across the country, is suffering a serious nursing shortage.
Getting workers’ compensation for injuries and medical conditions, however, can be a challenge. California lawmakers are trying to make things a little easier. A bill introduced by Assemblymember Mia Bonta would create a “rebuttable presumption” for a number of workplace-related injuries and illnesses for nurses and other health care workers.
A rebuttable presumption means that if a person suffers one of the specified injuries or conditions, it’s assumed to be caused by their work. The person doesn’t have to prove that it is a work-related condition to get workers’ comp. Those conditions would include musculoskeletal injuries, infectious diseases, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and more.
Does gender play a role in workers’ comp access?
Assemblymember Bonta points out that similar rebuttable presumptions are already in place for law enforcement officers, firefighters and other first responders in male-dominated professions. She says, “Our frontline health care workers face a clear gender gap in presumptive access to worker’s compensation, simply because they are in a female-dominated profession.” (If that name sounds familiar, it’s worth noting that she is the spouse of California Attorney General Rob Bonta.)
The legislation is supported by a number of groups, including the California Nurses Association. CNA’s president says if it becomes law, “it will make the decision to stay in the profession easier for skilled nurses.”
If you’re a nurse or other health care professional who’s having difficulty getting the workers’ comp benefits to which you’re entitled, having legal guidance can help you protect your rights and obtain the compensation you deserve.