For a nice change of pace, the Legislature streamlined the requirements for COVID-19 notices. Amendments to Labor Code section 6409.6, which requires certain notices in the event of a COVID-19 case at the workplace, clean up confusing language in the original statute.
The original statute required that three types of notice be given if you had a COVID-19 case at the workplace: i) of a potential exposure to COVID-19, ii) of COVID-19 benefits the employee may be entitled to, and iii) the employer’s cleaning and disinfection plan. But the description of who was to receive each notice was different for each type of notice, which created confusion.
The new statute provides that all three notices be given to employees “who were on the premises at the same worksite as the qualifying individual within the infectious period,” which clarifies that it is the same group who receives each notice. (There are still notice requirements for the employers of subcontracted employees and employee representatives.)
The amendment also clarifies the definition of “worksite,” by excluding “locations where the worker worked by themselves without exposure to other employees” and remote work locations, such as a worker’s residence.
Finally, the amendment addresses the period in which you must notify the Department of Public Health in the event of an outbreak. The original law required the notice to be given within 48 hours, which was a problem if you learned about the outbreak on a Friday. The amendment provides that the notice be given within 48 hours or one business day, whichever is later. So if you learn of the outbreak on Friday, your deadline to give notice is Monday.
Cal/OSHA’s Emergency Temporary Standards, which I discussed in the Summer Edition of this newsletter, remain in effect. Please be sure you are complying with them, including having the up-to-date COVID-19 Prevention Plan and employee trainings required by those standards. In addition, local orders may apply to your business. For example, although the Cal/OSHA standard does not require vaccinated employees to wear masks indoors, Sacramento County and Yolo County have indoor mask mandates.
Related practice team: Labor and Employment