All California employers must stay up-to-date with Cal/OSHA’s COVID-19 regulations. The key changes in the Cal/OSHA Revised Temporary Emergency COVID-19 Standard, which went into effect on January 14, 2022, are:
Fully-vaccinated and unvaccinated employees who were a “close contact” at work of a “COVID-19 case” must be offered free testing during paid time, unless they are a recently recovered COVID-19 case, as defined. The prior rule required testing to be offered only to unvaccinated close contacts.
[Note – Don’t confuse testing offered to close contacts with testing of employees with COVID-19 symptoms. You must also offer free testing during paid time to any symptomatic employee.]
While fully-vaccinated employees who were a close contact but remain asymptomatic still do not need to be excluded from the workplace, in order to avoid exclusion, they must wear a face covering and maintain six feet of distance from others for 14 days after the date of their last close contact. Previously, they did not need to wear a mask or socially distance.
Return to Work
Close contacts who never developed symptoms may return to work when 14 days have passed since the last known close contact, or in a shorter period of time under the following conditions:
- 10 days have passed since the last known close contact and the person wears a face covering and maintains six feet of distance from others while at the workplace for 14 days following the last date of close contact; or
- 7 days have passed since the last known close contact; the person tested negative for COVID-19 using a COVID-19 test with the specimen taken at least five days after the last known close contact; and the person wears a face covering and maintains six feet of distance from others while at the workplace for 14 days following the last date of close contact.
Certain employers, such as those in health care, are subject to different regulations.
All employers need to revise their required COVID-19 Prevention Plans to comply with the new standard.
Cal/OSHA’s FAQ has been updated to reflect the new standard, and you should review the information there as well as the new standard itself.
Related practice team: Labor and Employment