A revised Cal/OSHA Emergency Temporary Standard for COVID-19 went into effect on May 7, 2022, and is slated to remain in effect until the end of the year, at which time a permanent standard may be adopted.
Key changes for California employers are:
- Employees who are a “close contact” with a COVID-19 case are subject to exclusion from work per the then-current California Department of Public Health (“CDPH”) guidance. The new standard does not include its own return-to-work requirements for these employees.
- Note: Employees who are a COVID-19 case remain subject to return-to-work requirements set forth in the standard. However, as before, those requirements are suspended if they exceed the then-current CDPH applicable quarantine requirements, pursuant to Executive Order N-84-20.
- Acceptable test results to return to work now include a self-administered and self-read test, but only if the employee can provide independent means of verification of the results. (The example given is a time-stamped photo of the test results.)
- Face covering requirements are the same for all employees, regardless of vaccination status.
- Employers are no longer required to provide face coverings to employees, unless face coverings are required by a CDPH or local public health order.
- Cleaning and disinfecting procedures are no longer required.
As you can see, employers must remain up-to-date on the Cal/OSHA requirements and the guidance issued by the CDPH.
Employers should read the new standard in its entirety and the DIR’s helpful FAQ for further details. And – importantly – employers must make the necessary revisions to their COVID-19 Prevention Plan and employee notices.
On July 12, 2022, the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) updated its guidance on COVID-19 issues. Among other things, the EEOC’s new guidance states that employers should conduct workplace COVID-19 screening only when the screening is “job-related and consistent with business necessity” in order to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Thus, employers should avoid “blanket” screening.
COVID-19 Paid Sick Leave
Finally, just a reminder – California’s current COVID-19 paid sick leave law will expire on September 30.
Related practice team: Labor and Employment