Q: What is the labor code section which allows 30 days to pay a compromise and release order to avoid penalties and interest?

A: There is no such labor code section of which I am aware. The WCAB has construed the filing of a compromise and release to be the filing of an application for adjudication. Monument Car Parts v. WCAB (Teach) (2007) 72 Cal. Comp. Cases 1021.

Labor Code section 5313 indicates the appeals board shall within 30 days after a case is submitted issue a decision, order, award and findings. Labor Code section 5910 indicates that the filing of a petition for reconsideration suspends and award or decision for 10 days unless otherwise ordered by the appeals board.

Labor Code section 5800 indicates that all awards include interest “from the date of making and filing of an award, as to amounts which by the terms of the award are payable forthwith.” Labor Code section 5800.5 reflects that the 30 day period in Labor Code section 5313 runs from the date of submission of an application (a compromise and release is the equivalent).

Paragraph 7 of the compromise and release documents states “interest under Labor Code section 5800 is included if the sums set forth herein are paid within 30 days after the date of approval of this agreement.” A compromise and release also has pre-printed language waiving any accrued Labor Code section 5814 penalties but payment of the order approving arguably would be included but that is not clear in the compromise and release.

It is my opinion that it is best to include “all interest and penalties to date included if payment is tendered 30 days or less from date of the order approving compromise and release” in both a proposed compromise and release as well as in an order approving compromise and release, even if only by direct reference to the proposed document. This is the safest way to ensure 30 days to pay.