Understanding New COVID-19 Related Requirements
The regulations for employers regarding COVID-19 are constantly changing. Because of this, we wanted to give you a one-stop-shop to all your COVID-19 regulation related questions. Below we highlight the various changes, as well as other resources that expand on the new regulations. Please reach out to the Culture Works team with any questions or concerns, we are happy to help you navigate the various requirements!
New California Covid-19 Related Requirements Effective Immediately
This month brought updated Covid-19 related requirements for businesses in California, including Cal OSHA Regulations, the various California Regional Stay at Home Orders, and updated County Health Orders including San Diego County.
Regional Stay at Home Order
The Regional Stay at Home Order went into effect on December 3, 2020. The Orders place limitations on which businesses can remain open, and under what conditions. For detailed information on the order, including which businesses can be open, visit the About COVID-19 Restrictions webpage published by the State of California.
Cal/OSHA Emergency Regulations to Protect Workers from COVID-19
This emergency standard went into effect on the evening of November 30, 2020, and applies to most workers in California, with the following exceptions: workplaces where there is only one employee who does not have contact with other people; employees who are working from home; and employees who are covered by the Aerosol Transmissible Diseases regulation.
The new regulations require that employers implement a site-specific written COVID-19 Prevention Program (CPP) to address COVID-19 health hazards, correct unsafe or unhealthy conditions, and provide face coverings. When there are multiple COVID-19 infections or outbreaks at the worksite, employers must provide COVID-19 testing and notify public health departments. The regulations also require accurate recordkeeping and reporting of COVID-19 cases. The following resources are available to employers:
- Emergency Regulations FAQs and one-page fact sheet.
- Model COVID-19 Prevention Program (CPP) Template – all companies not on the exception category must have one in place. It can be part of your existing Injury and Illness Prevention Program (IIPP) or a standalone document.
- Emergency Regulation training webinars for employers from Cal/OSHA. The webinars are not currently posted but will be in a few days.
California Reopening Requirements
If your company is open for business or getting ready to reopen, make sure to become familiar with the following requirements.
- Create and implement the newly required COVID-19 Prevention Program. The program can be customized off of the Cal-Osha provided template.
- Identify how the California Regional Stay at Home Order affects your business.
- Identify your Industry-specific guidance on the State of California COVID-19 Industry Guidance and Checklists website.
- Stay up to date on your local requirements. For example, San Diego County has a Safe Reopening website with guidance and resources for businesses. The required San Diego Safe Reopening Plan template can be accessed on this site.
- Keep in mind that remote workers can continue working. Every effort should be made to allow employees to work from home when it’s feasible.
California Family Rights Act Expanded to Apply to Small Businesses
Currently, California businesses with 50 or more employees must provide up to 12 weeks of unpaid job-protected leave to eligible workers under the California Family Rights Act (CFRA) and the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).
Effective January 1, 2021 employers with five or more employees will be required to offer CFRA to qualifying employees. Eligible employees can take CFRA leave for multiple reasons, including but not limited to their own serious health condition; caring for a family member with a serious health condition, including grandparents, grandchildren, and siblings, in addition to parents, children, spouses, and registered domestic partners; and for the birth, adoption or foster care placement of a child (baby bonding).
All eligible employers will need to ensure that their employment policies, including leave of absence policies and employee handbooks, are updated with the new CFRA eligibility and requirements.
New Notice and Reporting Obligations for COVID-19 Workplace Exposures
Effective January 1, 2020 and through January 1, 2023 under California Assembly Bill 685, when an employer receives notice of “potential exposure to COVID-19,” the employer must provide a written notice within one business day to:
- All employees, and the employers of subcontracted employees, who were on the premises at the same worksite as the person who was infectious with COVID-19 or who was subject to a COVID-19-related quarantine order.
The notice must include information of their potential exposure, the disinfection and safety plan that the employer plans to carry out in accordance with CDC guidelines, and provide the employees (and their union, if any) information regarding the COVID-19-related benefits to which they may be entitled under applicable laws.
What triggers the notice requirement?
- Notification from a public health official that an employee was exposed to a “qualifying individual,”
- An employee (or their emergency contact) that they are a “qualifying individual,”
- The result of the test required by the employer showing that the employee is a “qualifying individual,” or
- A subcontractor that one of its employees is a “qualifying individual” and was at the employer’s worksite
Who is a “qualifying individual”?
- Someone who has a laboratory-confirmed case of COVID-19,
- One who has a positive COVID-19 diagnosis from a licensed health care provider,
- Someone who has been ordered to isolate by a public health official due to COVID-19, or
- One who has died due to COVID-19.
Detailed requirements, including what is considered an outbreak, need to be reported to the Local Health Department & can be accessed on the COVID-19 Infection Prevention Requirements (AB 685) site.