Legislation State programs Workers' compensation State laws

California bill aimed at exploring gender inequities in workers’ comp

Photo: melitas/iStockphoto

Sacramento, CA — A California Senate committee recently approved legislation that calls for a study on gender-based monetary disparities in state workers’ compensation benefits.

Sponsored by Sen. Dave Cortese (D-San Jose), S.B. 631 would direct the administrative director of the state’s Division of Workers’ Compensation, in collaboration with the University of California, Berkeley, to produce a comparative analysis that examines benefits provided to employees of different genders. The analysis would include differences between industries, in rate of claim denial and in compensation paid.

The bill was passed by the Senate Labor, Public Employment and Retirement Committee with a 4-0 vote on April 12 and now goes before Appropriations Committee, for which Cortese serves as chair.

During an April 24 hearing, the Appropriations Committee placed the bill on suspense file – a process in which bills are considered after the state budget has been prepared, so the committee has a better sense of available revenue. 

If the bill is signed into law, the administrative director would be required to prepare and provide a report on the analysis to the legislature no later than six months after its completion.

“For California to lead on equal pay and gender equity, our next step is ensuring workers’ compensation is fair and equitable for all,” Cortese said in a press release. “No one should be afraid of what happens next after they are injured on the job. We need to address the root causes of gender inequity in workers’ compensation. Though the need is apparent, quantifying these inequities is vital to achieving reform.”

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