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-Via the Department of Industrial Relations-

Revisions Account for Rising Vaccination Rates, Offer Guidance to Help Businesses Reopen while Maintaining Strong Worker Protections

Revised Emergency Temporary Standards Effective June 17th, 2021

Sacramento—The Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board today adopted revisions to the COVID-19 Prevention Emergency Temporary Standards that account for recent guidance from the California Department of Public Health based on increases in the number of people vaccinated. Governor Gavin Newsom today signed an executive order enabling the revisions to take effect without the normal 10-day review period by the Office of Administrative Law—providing clarity and consistency for employers and employees as California fully reopens its economy. The revised standards took effect June 17th, 2021.

The revisions include the following:

  • Fully vaccinated employees do not need to be offered testing or excluded from work after close contact unless they have COVID-19 symptoms.
  • Fully vaccinated employees do not need to wear face coverings except for certain situations during outbreaks and in settings where CDPH requires all persons to wear them. Employers must document the vaccination status of fully vaccinated employees if they do not wear face coverings indoors.
  • Employees are not required to wear face coverings when outdoors regardless of vaccination status except for certain employees during outbreaks.
  • Employees are explicitly allowed to wear a face covering without fear of retaliation from employers.
  • Physical distancing requirements have been eliminated except where an employer determines there is a hazard and for certain employees during major outbreaks.
  • Employees who are not fully vaccinated may request respirators for voluntary use from their employers at no cost and without fear of retaliation from their employers.
  • Employees who are not fully vaccinated and exhibit COVID-19 symptoms must be offered testing by their employer.
  • Employer-provided housing and transportation are exempt from the regulations where all employees are fully vaccinated.
  • Employers must review the Interim guidance for Ventilation, Filtration, and Air Quality in Indoor Environments.
  • Employers must evaluate ventilation systems to maximize outdoor air and increase filtration efficiency, and evaluate the use of additional air cleaning systems.

We will continue to provide further guidance regarding developing COVID-related news. Should you have any questions, please contact our office at 916.444.6200, info@hrtogo.com, or your HR Consultant directly.

This information was obtained from the Department of Industrial Relations. View original source here: https://www.dir.ca.gov/DIRNews/2021/2021-62.html

HR Hot Topic – Board Votes To Adopt Revised COVID-19 Prevention Emergency Temporary Standards

The Cal/OSHA Standards Board has published the latest version of its COVID emergency standard, on which it will vote later this week. The big change: Fully vaccinated employees will not have to wear masks indoors if unvaccinated coworkers are among them.

The move comes after an outcry from employers that the agency was not following new national and state guidelines in light of declining COVID rates and in recognition of the reopening of the state. After an emergency meeting on June 9th, when the board rescinded the June 3rd version of the controversial standard, the Division of Occupational Safety and Health quickly published the new language.

The rulemaking body has appointed three of its members to work with the Division on further changes, and if COVID remains under control, the entire emergency standard could be rescinded.

The current (original) version of the standard will remain in effect until the Office of Administrative Law the new one. That version is expected to take effect by the 28th.

Gone from the new version is a reference to “outdoor mega events” (10,000 or more people), during which vaccinated and unvaccinated employees would have to be masked or physically distanced, as well as indoor operations.

Under the proposal, employers will be required to provide and enforce face masks for employees not fully vaccinated indoors or in vehicles. Even when the standard does not require masks, employers will be required to provide them to employees “upon request.”

Another revision that will likely please the restaurant business is removing a requirement that “cleanable solid partitions” be installed when physical distancing isn’t possible between employees and “other persons.”

All references to July 31st sunset provisions have been removed in the proposal.

DOSH recognizes the changed circumstances but warns that employees could still contract the virus.

“As reflected in the proposed emergency regulations, the use of effective vaccines has reduced the need for some of the protections put into place by the November 30th, 2020, emergency temporary standard,” DOSH says in its renewed emergency finding. “However, a serious hazard to employees still exists. A very large proportion of California employees remain unvaccinated as of the scheduled June 17th” Standards Board meeting. “Unvaccinated employees will therefore be particularly at risk, especially given the spread of especially contagious SARS-CoV-2 variants, unless protective measures are taken.”

We will continue to provide further guidance regarding developing COVID related news. Should you have any questions, please contact our office at 916.444.6200, info@hrtogo.com, or your HR Consultant directly.

This information was obtained from Cal/OSHA, published June 14th, 2021. Original source here: https://www.cal-osha.com/flash-report/cal-osha-to-mask-or-not-to-mask/

HR Hot Topic – On Behalf Of Cal/OSHA: To Mask Or Not To Mask

(Via the Department of Industrial Relations)

The revised Cal/OSHA standards are expected to go into effect no later than June 15

Sacramento—The Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board on June 3 readopted Cal/OSHA’s revised COVID-19 prevention emergency temporary standards.

Last year, the Board adopted health and safety standards to protect workers from COVID-19. The standards did not consider vaccinations and required testing, quarantining, masking and more to protect workers from COVID-19.

The changes adopted by the Board phase out physical distancing and make other adjustments to better align with the state’s June 15 goal to retire the Blueprint. Without these changes, the original standards, would be in place until at least October 2. These restrictions are no longer required given today’s record low case rates and the fact that we’ve administered 37 million vaccines. The revised emergency standards are expected to go into effect no later than June 15 if approved by the Office of Administrative Law in the next 10 calendar days. Some provisions go into effect starting on July 31, 2021.

The revised standards are the first update to Cal/OSHA’s temporary COVID-19 prevention requirements adopted in November 2020.

The Board may further refine the regulations in the coming weeks to take into account changes in circumstances, especially as related to the availability of vaccines and low case rates across the state.

The standards apply to most workers in California not covered by Cal/OSHA’s Aerosol Transmissible Diseases standard. Notable revisions include: 

  • Face Coverings: Fully vaccinated workers without COVID-19 symptoms do not need to wear face coverings in a room where everyone else is fully vaccinated and not showing symptoms. Fully vaccinated and unvaccinated workers without symptoms do not need to wear face coverings outdoors except when working at “outdoor mega events” with over 10,000 attendees, which may include events or theme parks. Indoors, all workers – regardless of vaccination status – will continue to be required to wear a face covering. 
  • Physical Distancing: When the revised standards take effect, employers can eliminate physical distancing and partitions/barriers for employees working indoors and at outdoor mega events if they provide respirators, such as N95s, to unvaccinated employees for voluntary use. After July 31, physical distancing and barriers are no longer required (except during outbreaks), but employers must provide all unvaccinated employees with N95s for voluntary use.
  • Prevention Program: Employers are still required to maintain a written COVID-19 Prevention Program but there are some key changes to requirements:
  • Exclusion from the Workplace: Fully vaccinated workers who do not have COVID-19 symptoms no longer need to be excluded from the workplace after a close contact.
  • Special Protections for Housing and Transportation: Special COVID-19 prevention measures that apply to employer-provided housing and transportation no longer apply if all occupants are fully vaccinated.

The Standards Board will file the readoption rulemaking package with the Office of Administrative Law, which has 10 calendar days to review and approve the temporary workplace safety standards enforced by Cal/OSHA. Once approved and published, the full text of the revised emergency standards will appear in the Title 8 sections 3205 (COVID-19 Prevention), 3205.1 (Multiple COVID-19 Infections and COVID-19 Outbreaks), 3205.2 (Major COVID-19 Outbreaks) 3205.3 (COVID-19 Prevention in Employer-Provided Housing) and 3205.4 (COVID-19 Prevention in Employer-Provided Transportation) of the California Code of Regulations. Pursuant to the state’s emergency rulemaking process, this is the first of two opportunities to readopt the temporary standards after the initial effective period.

The Standards Board also convened a representative subcommittee to work with Cal/OSHA on a proposal for further updates to the standard, as part of the emergency rulemaking process. It is anticipated this newest proposal, once developed, will be heard at an upcoming Board meeting. The subcommittee will provide regular updates at the Standards Board monthly meetings.

The Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board, a seven-member body appointed by the Governor, is the standards-setting agency within the Cal/OSHA program. The Standards Board’s objective is to adopt reasonable and enforceable standards at least as effective as federal standards. The Standards Board also has the responsibility to grant or deny applications for permanent variances from adopted standards and respond to petitions for new or revised standards.

The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health, or Cal/OSHA, is the division within the Department of Industrial Relations that helps protect California’s workers from health and safety hazards on the job in almost every workplace. Cal/OSHA’s Consultation Services Branch provides free and voluntary assistance to employers to improve their health and safety programs. Employers should call (800) 963-9424 for assistance from Cal/OSHA Consultation Services.

We will continue to provide further guidance regarding developing COVID related news. Should you have any questions, please contact our office at 916.444.6200, info@hrtogo.com, or your HR Consultant directly.

This information was obtained from The Department of Industrial Relations, published June 4th, 2021. Original source here: https://www.dir.ca.gov/DIRNews/2021/2021-58.html 

HR Hot Topic – Standards Board Readopts Revised Cal/OSHA COVID-19 Prevention Emergency Temporary Standards

Note: The following guidance supersedes face coverings guidance released on November 16, 2020. This updated guidance mandates face masks in indoor settings, with few exceptions.
 

Background

The risk for COVID-19 exposure and infection will continue to remain until we reach community immunity from vaccinations. Since the start of the pandemic, we have learned a lot about COVID-19 transmission: a large proportion of people who are infected do not have symptoms (asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic) but play an important part in community spread, and the virus is transmitted through the air and concentrates indoors. The use of face coverings by everyone can limit the release of infected droplets when talking, coughing, sneezing, singing, exercising, shouting, or other forms of increased respiration, and reinforce physical distancing by signaling the need to remain apart. A well-fitting face covering can also provide the wearer some protection from COVID-19.

The purpose of this guidance is to provide information about when face coverings are required for members of the general public. It does not substitute for existing guidance about physical distancing and hand hygiene. In the workplace, employers subject to the Cal/OSHA COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standards (ETS), must ensure that all workers are provided and properly wear face coverings as required by the ETS.

For more information on face mask types, fit, and filtration, refer to the CDPH Face Mask Tips and Resources

Guidance

  1. For fully vaccinated persons, face coverings are not required outdoors except when attending crowded outdoor events, such as live performances, parades, fairs, festivals, sports events, or other similar settings.
  2. For unvaccinated persons, face coverings are required outdoors any time physical distancing cannot be maintained, including when attending crowded outdoor events, such as live performances, parades, fairs, festivals, sports events, or other similar settings. 
  3. In indoor settings outside of one’s home, including public transportation, face coverings continue to be required regardless of vaccination status, except as outlined below.
  4. As defined in the CDPH Fully Vaccinated Persons Guidance, fully vaccinated people can*:
    • Visit, without wearing masks or physical distancing, with other fully vaccinated people in indoor or outdoor settings; and
    • Visit, without wearing masks or physical distancing, with unvaccinated people (including children) from a single household who are at low risk for severe COVID-19 disease in indoor and outdoor settings
  5. Exemptions:
    • The following specific settings are exempt from face covering requirements:
      • Persons in a car alone or solely with members of their own household,
      • Persons who are working alone in a closed office or room,
      • Persons who are obtaining a medical or cosmetic service involving the nose or face for which temporary removal of the face covering is necessary to perform the service,
      • Workers who wear respiratory protection, or
      • Persons who are specifically exempted from wearing face coverings by other CDPH guidance.
    • The following individuals are exempt from wearing face coverings at all times:
      • Persons younger than two years old. Very young children must not wear a face covering because of the risk of suffocation.
      • Persons with a medical condition, mental health condition, or disability that prevents wearing a face covering. This includes persons with a medical condition for whom wearing a face covering could obstruct breathing or who are unconscious, incapacitated, or otherwise unable to remove a face covering without assistance.*
      • Persons who are hearing impaired, or communicating with a person who is hearing impaired, where the ability to see the mouth is essential for communication.
      • Persons for whom wearing a face covering would create a risk to the person related to their work, as determined by local, state, or federal regulators or workplace safety guidelines.

*Note: Persons exempted from wearing a face covering due to a medical condition who are employed in a job involving regular contact with others must wear a non-restrictive alternative, such as a face shield with a drape on the bottom edge, as long as their condition permits it.

We will continue to provide further guidance regarding developing COVID related news. Should you have any questions, please contact our office at 916.444.6200, info@hrtogo.com, or your HR Consultant directly.

This information was obtained from the California Department of Public Health’s website. You can view the original source here: https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CID/DCDC/Pages/COVID-19/guidance-for-face-coverings.aspx

HR Hot Topic – California Department Of Public Health Guidance For Face Coverings

On May 3, 2021, the California Department of Public Health issued its COVID-19 Public Health Recommendations for Fully Vaccinated People, which provide that fully vaccinated individuals who have had a COVID-19 exposure do not need to quarantine if they are asymptomatic. Thus, per Executive Order N-84-20, such individuals no longer need to be excluded under the COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standards (ETS). At Cal/OSHA, we have updated our COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standards FAQs to reflect this change. For employers and workers who want to know what this change means, we have provided a helpful list of questions and answers regarding this change below.
 
Q: When must an employer exclude employees from work?
 
A: Employers must exclude from work employees who are not fully vaccinated if they (1) are COVID-19 cases, or (2) have had COVID-19 exposure. Applying Executive Order N-84-20 and the new CDPH COVID-19 Public Health Recommendations for Fully Vaccinated Individuals, employers must also exclude fully vaccinated employees if they (1) are COVID-19 cases, or (2) have had a COVID-19 exposure and exhibit COVID-19 symptoms. However, employers do not need to exclude fully vaccinated employees who had a COVID-19 exposure who are asymptomatic.
 
Q: What are the criteria for an employee who is not fully vaccinated and exposed to a COVID-19 case to return to work?
 
A: Applying Executive Order N-84-20 and the CDPH quarantine guidance, while a 14- day quarantine is recommended, an exposed employee who does not develop symptoms of COVID-19 may return to work after 10 days have passed since the date of last known exposure. Additionally, CDPH has provided guidance permitting health care, emergency response and social services workers to return to work after 7 days with a negative PCR test result collected after day 5 when there is a critical staffing shortage.
 
Q: What are the quarantine requirements for a fully vaccinated employee exposed to a COVID-19 case?
 
A: Applying Executive Order N-84-20 and the new CDPH COVID-19 Public Health Recommendations for Fully Vaccinated People, an exposed employee who does not develop symptoms of COVID-19, does not need to quarantine.

We will continue to provide further guidance regarding developing COVID related news. Should you have any questions, please contact our office at 916.444.6200 or info@hrtogo.com.

View original source here: https://www.dir.ca.gov/dosh/dosh_publications/COVIDOnePageFS-Update.pdf 

HR Hot Topic – UPDATE from Cal/OSHA Regarding COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standards

 

Heat illness is a silent hazard. Heat illness victims may not realize they’re in trouble until the symptoms are advanced. If left unattended, heat illness could lead to heat stroke, a condition that is life-threatening. Employers should be familiar with Cal/OSHA’s heat illness prevention regulation to prevent possible heat-related illness or death. The main points of the regulation include provision of water, access to shade, written procedures, and training.

Drink water – For an eight hour work shift, employers are required to make available two gallons of water per employee. Not all of the water needs to be available at once, but the water supply should allow at least one quart per employee at all times. Workers should consume about three to four cups of water every hour (about one cup every 20 minutes) starting at the beginning of the work shift and throughout the day. Alcohol, coffee, tea, and caffeinated soft drinks, which cause dehydration, should be avoided.

Access to shade – Employers are required to provide workers with a shaded rest area that has good air movement. The area can include buildings, canopies, lean-tos, or even shade trees. A car or other vehicle interiors can be used if shaded, air conditioned, or kept cool in some other way. However, the rest area must not be hazardous (e.g. not underneath tractors or in confined spaces). Employers must allow workers to take periodic rest breaks (when they request it) in these designated shade areas. A rest break in the shade for at least five minutes can reduce potential heat illness.

Written Procedures – The employer’s procedures shall be in writing and shall be made available to employees and Cal/OSHA upon request. The procedures should include complying with requirements of the standard, responding to symptoms of possible heat illness, and contacting emergency services to ensure transportation and precise directions for emergency responders. The written procedures should also ensure that all employees are trained prior to working outdoors and that working hours should be modified to cooler hours of the day whenever possible. When modified hours are not possible, more water and rest breaks will be provided. Supervisors should continuously evaluate environmental factors at the work site (temperature, humidity, radiant heat, and air velocity) to determine if there’s a risk for heat illnesses.

Training — Workers should be trained in heat illness risk factors, how to recognize the early warning signs of heat illness in themselves and in fellow workers, and in first aid measures. The level of heat illness can be affected by a worker’s age, weight, fitness, medical condition, and acclimatization to the heat. Training should include how to prevent heat illnesses, the importance of drinking water, how to slowly build up heat tolerance, and what emergency medical services to call to prevent a delay in life-saving services. When workers cannot communicate directly with emergency services, the employer must identify someone who can.

Most heat-related health problems can be prevented, or the risk of developing them reduced, if a few basic precautions are taken. Encourage workers to:

  • Eat wisely. Hot, heavy meals add heat to the body and divert blood to the digestive system, so eat lightly.

  • Dress appropriately. Wear lightweight, light-colored, loose fitting clothing, plus a hat. When required, construction workers should wear hard hats to protect against falling objects and shield against the sun’s rays. 

  • Use, and reapply, sunscreen.

  • Keep out of the sun whenever possible. 

Work in hot environments will be safer and more productive if every worker on-site is trained to recognize the signs and symptoms of heat illness and knows how to prevent, control, and respond to its effects.
Beat the heat!

For questions regarding heat illness prevention guidelines and/or assistance with creating a Heat Illness Prevention Program as required by Cal/OSHA, please contact our office at 916-444-6200 or info@hrtogo.com. 

Source: © State Compensation Insurance Fund Safety Sheet

HR Hot Topic – Heat Illness Recognition and Prevention

As more individuals have the opportunity to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, many employers are asking the question regarding mandating versus encouraging employees to become vaccinated.

On March 4, 2021 the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) updated its COVID-19 guidance (view here), which addressed several questions related to vaccinations.

The DFEH stated that an employer may require employees to receive an FDA approved vaccination as long as the employer adheres to the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) by doing the following:

  • Does not discriminate against or harass employees or applicants on the basis of protected characteristics;
  • Provides reasonable accommodations related to disability or sincerely held religious beliefs or practices, and;
  • Does not retaliate against anyone for engaging in protected activity (requesting a reasonable accommodation, etc.).

It is important to note that the DFEH is not providing guidance as to whether or to what extent an employer should mandate the vaccination, but rather, how an employee should comply with FEHA should the employer require the vaccination.

As with reviewing any accommodation, an employer must engage in the interactive process if an employee objects to vaccination and reasonably accommodate the employee.

Reasonable accommodations can include working from home or other measures put in place at the worksite that allow the employee to continue working safely. The interactive process should also be used when facing other objections to the vaccination. Job restructuring, reassignment or modifications of work practices should also be reviewed.  

Many companies are encouraging voluntary vaccinations to their employees and have incentivized their employees to participate. Employers have paid for the vaccinations and the time required as incentives. California employers with more than 25 employees are now mandated to offer paid sick leave under the 2021 COVID-19 Sick Leave, for the purpose of attending a vaccine appointment or suffering side effects from receiving the vaccine. However, smaller employers may offer paid time as an incentive.

Employers should keep in mind that any incentive cannot discriminate against individuals who are not vaccinated because of medical conditions and/or religious beliefs.

Employers should review the DFEH guidelines and consult with your HR Consultant prior to mandating vaccinations. For more information or questions, contact our office at (916)444-6200 or info@hrtogo.com. 

As with most employer requirements associated with the current health crisis, we will continue to provide further guidance regarding developing COVID-19 related news. 

HR Hot Topic – COVID-19 Vaccinations & the Workplace

HR Hot Topic - Harassment Prevention Training Reminder

REMINDER: The extension to complete the required training under SB 1343 by January 1 has passed. 

California Governor, Gavin Newsom, signed SB 778, emergency legislation which extended the existing sexual harassment prevention training deadline under SB 1343, to January 1st, 2021 – an extension of one full year.

The extension allowed employers more time to comply with the training of those non-management personnel that were not previously required to complete harassment and discrimination prevention training. The extension also allows managerial personnel that were required to complete the training to stay on the two (2) year cycle schedule. 

The Impact of SB 778

  • Employees trained in 2018 would still comply with the new January 1, 2021 deadline.  
  • Employers who trained supervisors in 2017 under prior law, known as AB 1825, should still train those employees accordingly in order to maintain their two-year cycle. 
  • What remained unchanged is the requirement for seasonal and temporary employees, who (effective January 1st, 2020) must be trained within 30 calendar days after their hire date or within 100 hours worked, whichever occurs first.

SB 1343 Training Requirements:

  • Supervisors must receive two hours of sexual harassment prevention training (specific for managers and supervisors).
  • Non-supervisory employees must receive one hour of sexual harassment prevention training. The training must be provided within six months of hire or promotion, and every two years thereafter.  

Action Required:

If an employer has not provided their employees with the required training, better to provide late than never.   

If you have not already, take advantage of our easy-to-use, online training solution for employees to complete the SB 1343 requirement. For more information, please contact our office at info@hrtogo.com, 916-444-6200 or your HR Consultant directly.

HR Hot Topic – Harassment Prevention Training Reminder

STATE MINIMUM WAGE INCREASE – 01/01/2021

What you need to know
The State of California will implement the next phase of minimum wage increases.

Beginning on 01/01/2021 the state minimum wage will increase for those employers that have 25 or fewer employees.

The schedule is as follows for employers with 25 or fewer employees:

    • On January 1, 2021, the minimum wage will increase to $13 per hour.
    • On January 1, 2022, the minimum wage will increase to $14 per hour.
    • On January 1, 2023, the minimum wage will increase to $15 per hour.

Also beginning on 01/01/2021 the state minimum wage will increase for those employers that have 26 or more employees.

The schedule is as follows for employers with 26 or more employees:

    • On January 1, 2021, the minimum wage will increase to $14 per hour.
    • On January 1, 2022, the minimum wage will increase to $15 per hour.

Salaried Employees Affected

    • The minimum salary threshold for the administrative, executive and professional exemptions is $54,080 annually for employers with 25 or fewer employees.
    • The minimum salary rate is $58,240 annually for employers with 26 or more employees.

Action Required
For those that have 25 or fewer employees, hourly wages must meet the minimum wage of $13.00 per hour and salaries for exempt employees must meet the annual minimum of $54,080.

For those that have 26 or more employees, hourly wages must meet the minimum wage of $14.00 per hour and salaries for exempt employees must meet the annual minimum of $58,240.

Be Aware
Certain cities have adopted a minimum wage that exceeds the California minimum.  Employers that fall under such a local minimum wage ordinance are advised to review the requirements. 

HR Hot Topic – Minimum Wage Increase

Governor Gavin Newsom signed AB 685, a new law establishing stringent COVID-19-related notice and reporting requirements for public and private employers.

It also boosts the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health’s (Cal/OSHA) COVID-19 enforcement authority.

The new law takes effect January 1, 2021, but employers should quickly become aware of its complicated requirements in order to ensure compliance in January.

If an employer receives notice of a “potential exposure to COVID-19,” the employer must, within one business day, take the following actions.

  1. The employer must provide written notice to all employees (and their exclusive representative, if any) and the employers of subcontracted employees, who were on the premises at the same worksite as the “qualifying individual within the infectious period,” that they may have been exposed to COVID-19. Written notice may be provided in person, email, text message or other form of communications the employer normally uses if it can reasonably be anticipated that the employee will receive it within one business day. Additionally, the notice must be in both English and any language understood by the majority of employees. The new law also requires that the notice to any exclusive representative must contain the same information required in Cal/OSHA’s Form 300, Log of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses, unless the information is inapplicable or unknown to the employer.
  2. The employer must provide “all employees who may have been exposed” (and their exclusive representative, if any) with information regarding COVID-19-related benefits to which they may be entitled under federal, state or local laws, including, but not limited to, workers’ compensation, COVID-19-related leave, company sick leave, state-mandated leave, supplemental sick leave or negotiated leave provisions, as well as anti-retaliation and anti-discrimination employee protections.
  3. The employer must notify all employees (and their exclusive representative, if any) of the disinfection and safety plan that the employer plans to implement per the guidelines of the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Employers should note that the new law uses three different phrases, in quotes above, to describe employees to whom notices must be given.
These notice requirements are triggered when an employer receives “notice of a potential exposure to COVID-19,” which the law defines as notification:

  • From a public health official or licensed medical provider that an employee was exposed to a “qualifying individual” at the worksite;
  • From an employee or their emergency contact that the employee is a “qualifying individual;”
  • Through the testing protocol of the employer that the employee is a “qualifying individual;” or
  • From a subcontracted employee that a “qualifying individual” was on the worksite.

In addition to the notice requirements above, AB 685 requires employers to notify their local public health agency within 48 hours of a COVID-19 “outbreak,” as defined by the California Department of Public Health (CDPH).

Employers should note that the definition of “outbreak” under this law differs from the definition under SB 1159, which is related to workers’ compensation.

Because the new law specifies very detailed notice requirements with very little time to provide them, employers should become familiar with them quickly.

HR Hot Topic – AB685

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