BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    

                             Senator Tony Mendoza, Chair
                                2015 - 2016  Regular 

          Bill No:               AB 2493      Hearing Date:    June 22,  
          |Author:    |Atkins                                               |
          |Version:   |May 31, 2016                                         |
          |Urgency:   |No                     |Fiscal:    |Yes              |
          |Consultant:|Gideon L. Baum                                       |
          |           |                                                     |
                         Subject:  Firefighters:  disability

          KEY ISSUE
          Should the Legislature extend "4850 leave" to firefighters  
          employed by the Department of Forestry and Fire Protection?

           Existing law  :

             1)   Establishes a workers' compensation system that provides  
               benefits to an employee who suffers from an injury or  
               illness that arises out of and in the course of employment,  
               irrespective of fault.  This system requires all employers  
               to secure payment of benefits by either securing the  
               consent of the Department of Industrial Relations to  
               self-insure or by securing insurance against liability from  
               an insurance company duly authorized by the state.

             2)   Provides for the payment of indemnity benefits if the  
               occupational injury causes temporary or permanent  
               disability which prevents the worker from returning to his  
               or her job.  In the case of temporary disability payments,  


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               the benefit is two-thirds of the weekly loss in wages due  
               to disability for up to 104 weeks within 5 years (Labor  
               Code 4650, 4653, 4654 and 4656).

             3)   Provides that certain public employees employed on a  
               regular, full-time basis regardless of their period of  
               service, who incur on the job injury or illness, are  
               entitled to receive disability payment for up to one year.   
                These employees include:

               a)     City police officers;
               b)     City, county, or district firefighters;
               c)     Sheriffs;
               d)     County probation officers, group counselors, or  
                 juvenile services officers; and 
               e)     State Firefighters employed by the Department of  

          This leave of absence is set forth in Labor Code Sections 4800  
          and 4850 and is sometimes referred to as "4850 leave".

          This bill  extends "4850 leave" to rank-and-file and  
          supervisorial firefighters employed by the Department of  
          Forestry and Fire Protection (CalFIRE), whose principal duties  
          include active fire suppression or prevention services.


          1.  Need for this bill?

            As was discussed above, California's workers' compensation  
            system provides a temporary disability (TD) indemnity benefit  
            for injured workers who are temporarily unable to return to  
            work.  TD benefits replace up to 66% of an injured workers'  
            pay for up to 2 years.  However, for California's peace  
            officers, state law requires that 100% of the injured worker's  
            pay is provided in lieu of the first year of TD benefits.   
            This is known as "4850 leave", named after one of the Labor  
            Code sections which creates the leave.

            Under existing law, "4850 leave" is extended to firefighters  
            employed by the Department of Justice, but it is not extended  
            to firefighters employed by CalFIRE. AB 2493 would address  


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            this discrepancy by extending "4850 leave" to CalFIRE  

          2.  Proponent Arguments  :
            Proponents note that current law extends full salary leave for  
            industrial injuries to specified peace officers and  
            firefighters from specified state agencies. While local,  
            county, and DOJ employed firefighters are covered by existing  
            law, proponents note that CalFIRE firefighters are not  
            covered, despite similar job requirements. Proponents argue  
            that this inequity is profoundly unjust in the face of the  
            challenges and dangers facing CalFIRE firefighters, and  
            believe that AB 2493 is necessary to correct the injustice and  
            extend full salary leave for industrial injuries to CalFIRE  

          3.  Opponent Arguments  :

            None on file.

          4.  Prior Legislation  :

            SB 527 (Block), Statutes of 2013, Chapter 66, extends "4850  
            leave" to lifeguards employed by the City of San Diego.

          California Professional Firefighters (Co-Sponsor)
          CAL FIRE Local 2881 (Co-Sponsor)
          California Labor Federation
          California State Firefighters' Association

          None on file. 

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