(a) No employee who voluntarily participates in an alternative commute program that is sponsored or mandated by a governmental entity shall be considered to be acting within the course of his or her employment while utilizing that program to travel to or from his or her place of employment, unless he or she is paid a regular wage or salary in compensation for those periods of travel. An employee who is injured while acting outside the course of his or her employment, or his or her dependents in the event of the employee’s death, shall not be barred from bringing an action at law for damages against his or her employer as a result of this section.
(b) Any alternative commute program provided, sponsored, or subsidized by an employee’s employer in order to comply with any trip reduction mandates of an air quality management district or local government shall be considered a program mandated by a governmental entity. An employer’s reimbursement of employee expenses or subsidization of costs related to an alternative commute program shall not be considered payment of a wage or salary in compensation for the period of travel. If an employer’s salary is not based on the hours the employee works, payment of his or her salary shall not be considered to be in compensation for the period of travel unless there is a specific written agreement between the employer and the employee to that effect. If an employer elects to provide workers’ compensation coverage for those employees who are passengers in a vehicle owned and operated by the employer or an agent thereof, those employees shall be considered to be within the course of their employment, provided the employer notifies employees in writing prior to participation of the employee or coverage becoming effective.
(c) As used in this section, “governmental entity” means a regional air district, air quality management district, congestion management agency, or other local jurisdiction having authority to enact air pollution or congestion management controls or impose them upon entities within its jurisdiction.
(d) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, vanpool programs may continue to provide workers’ compensation benefits to employees who participate in an alternative commute program by riding in a vanpool, in the case in which the vanpool vehicle is owned or registered to the employer.
(e) Employees of the state who participate in an alternative commute program, while riding in a vanpool vehicle that is registered to or owned by the state, shall be deemed to be within the course and scope of employment for workers’ compensation purposes only.
(Added by Stats. 1994, Ch. 622, Sec. 1. Effective January 1, 1995.)
Last modified: October 25, 2018