A bill currently before the California legislature would require that workers’ compensation in the state “increase the payment of disability benefits by the percentage of disparity in earnings between genders.” What does this mean? Probably that more companies will be moving to Nevada, Arizona, and Texas. But it also means that, if signed into law, California workers’ comp will be officially “woke” and working to distribute “fairness” when other elements of society have apparently failed to do so.

I’m sure that will be easy to actuarily plan for.

The bill, SB 1458, states in its entirety:


Section 4453.1 is added to the Labor Code, to read:


(a) (1) Notwithstanding any other provision of this division, after calculating the average weekly wage pursuant to Section 4453, the average weekly wage shall increase, in addition thereto, by the percentage of disparity in earnings between genders as reported by the applicant’s employer in its pay data report to the Department of Fair Employment and Housing pursuant to Chapter 10 (commencing with Section 12999) of Part 2.8 of Division 3 of Title 2 of the Government Code if the applicant’s average weekly wage is less than the average weekly wage of the opposite gender as reported by the applicant’s employer to the Department of Fair Employment and Housing.

(2) An applicant whose employer has not submitted a pay data report shall have the average weekly wage disparity adjustment increased, in addition thereto, by the percentage of disparity in earning between genders as set forth in the United States Department of Labor Statistics: Employment and Earnings by Occupation.

(b) This section shall only apply prospectively to injuries occurring on or after January 1, 2023.

So, where there is gender disparity in the working world, the California comp system would under this bill attempt to level the playing field by righting the perceived wrongs of society. The bill does not actually specify which gender may most benefit from this, but it can be safely assumed that injured women would see their benefits increased under this plan.

While this may seem unfair to injured men, even discriminatory at some level, there is an easy workaround. The same woke policies being embraced by some groups and much of corporate America can also provide a solution to males who find themselves injured if this ends up becoming law.

Dude, if you’re injured on the job after January 1, 2023, simply declare that you are now a woman. Because you can be one now. It’s science, apparently. I don’t know what science, but I do know we are always told to follow the science, and no one in their right mind would question that. This means your workers’ compensation benefits will be increased by whatever disparity percentage your misogynistic employer or the US DOL has reported exists at the time.

This bill also does nothing to define which, if any, of the plethora of genders now existing, should be considered for this disparity benefit adjustment. This would have been so much easier back when I was a kid, and there were only two genders to concern yourself with. Today there are like 28 of them, and it is so much harder to keep up. We’re just three genders shy of a Baskin Robbins outlet (Baskin Robbins Ice Cream used to boast 31 flavors – I am hoping most of the industry is old enough to get the reference). This could get very confusing.

And does this mean someone who has no gender would receive no benefits since gender would be a factor in determining compensability?

Enquiring minds want to know, and believe me, there is more to enquire about every day.

SB 1458 goes before the Senate Labor, Public Employment and Retirement Committee on April 18th. Let us hope that reasonable minds will place this bill where it belongs, on the ash heap of history. Workers’ compensation has enough to worry about. It shouldn’t also have to be the social justice police, looking to correct and compensate for the egregious wrongs of other systems.

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