Cal/OSHA Update: THE VOTES ARE IN AND IT’S OFFICIAL!

by Lizbeth (Beth) V. West
The Labor & Employment Law Blog

The Standards Board Approved the Updated Cal/OSHA Covid-19 Requirements and Governor Newsom Issued an Executive Order Making Them Effective

Note: This post was updated on June 18, 2021.

On June 17, 2021, the Cal/OSHA Standards Board voted 5-1 to approve the revised Covid-19 Emergency Temporary Standards (“ETS”) and, as promised, Governor Newsom promptly issued Executive Order No. N-09-21 holding that the new ETS shall not be subject to the regular 10-day approval process by the Office of Administrative Law (OAL) for emergency regulations. 

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Cal/OSHA Update: Masking in the Workplace

by Lizbeth (Beth) V. West
The Labor & Employment Law Blog

Cal/OSHA Has Come Full Circle to Align with CDC & CA Public Health Department

Continuing the yo-yo of back and forth revisions to the COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standards (“ETS”), on June 11, 2021 Cal/OSHA submitted yet another draft of its proposed ETS to the Cal/OSHA Standards Board for review and approval.  While the draft contains a number of small changes to the earlier draft, the main revision deals with when masks – or face coverings – are required to be worn in the workplace.

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To Mask, or Not to Mask? That (at Least in the Employment Context) Is Still a Question

by Meagan D. Bainbridge
The Labor & Employment Law Blog

As California races towards reopening, employers are receiving (often conflicting) guidance on reopening procedures, especially with respect to when a mask is required for vaccinated individuals. In welcome news, it appears the various state agencies are moving towards more uniform policies, which will greatly relieve employers throughout the State.

California Department of Health Guidelines

First, on June 9th, California’s Health and Human Services Agency announced that California would be following the federal CDC guidance with respect to masking.

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Cal/OSHA Update: Don't Take That Mask Off Just Yet!

by Lizbeth (Beth) V. West
The Labor & Employment Law Blog

At its June 9, 2021, special meeting, the Cal/OSHA Standards Board voted to withdraw the revisions to the Emergency Temporary Standards (ETS) that had been approved at its June 3rd meeting. You can find more information here.

Despite California’s Plan to Reopen on June 15, 2021, The Revised COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standards Still Impose Restrictions in the Workplace

After an all-day meeting on June 3, 2021, the Cal/OSHA Standards Board approved revisions to the COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standards (“ETS” or “regulations”).

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New California COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave Law

by Lukas Clary
The Labor & Employment Law Blog

On March 19, 2021, Governor Newsom signed legislation ensuring new supplemental paid sick leave (SPSL) for eligible workers impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The bill, SB 95, provides up to 80 hours of paid leave for employees who are forced to miss work for qualifying reasons. The SPSL covers many more employers than previous legislation and allows workers to use the leave for more reasons. The law is codified in new California Labor Code sections 248.2 and 248.3,

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FFCRA Tax Credits for Paid Sick Leave and Emergency Family Leave Extended Through September 2021

by Lizbeth (Beth) V. West
The Labor & Employment Law Blog

The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (“ARPA”) was signed by President Biden on March 11, 2021.  Part 5 of the ARPA provides for additional credits to employers whose choose to grant paid sick leave and emergency family leave to eligible employees under the FFCRA.

To be clear, the ARPA does not require employers provide FFCRA leave to employees. That mandate expired on December 31, 2020.  However, the continuation of certain tax credits for employers who voluntarily provide FFCRA leave has been extended from March 31,

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Bad News for Employers: The California Supreme Court Disallows Rounding Meal Periods and Creates a Presumption that the Meal Period Law is Violated When Time Records Show Late, Interrupted, Or Missed Meal Periods

by Rachel E. Davey
The Labor & Employment Law Blog

Background:

Under California law, employers must provide non-exempt employees with one 30-minute meal period that begins no later than the end of the fifth hour of work and another 30-minute meal period that begins no later than the end of the tenth hour of work.  Cal. Lab. Code § 512; IWC Wage Order No. 4-2001, § 11(A).  If an employer does not provide an employee with a compliant meal period, then “the employer shall pay the employee one additional hour of pay at the employee’s regular rate of compensation for each workday that the meal .

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Are You Asking Applicants When They Can’t Work? If So, You May Be Violating FEHA

by Lizbeth (Beth) V. West
The Labor & Employment Law Blog

While employers were busy dealing with a multitude of issues during the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic in the Spring of 2020, the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (“DFEH”) quietly issued some amended regulations that employers should be aware of as they relate to employer interviewing and hiring practices. The regulations went into effect on July 1, 2020 and below are some of the highlights.

  1. Employers cannot seek information about an applicant’s religion or disability through certain pre-employment questions about the applicant’s availability for work.

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Updated CDC Guidance: Fully Vaccinated Individuals Need Not Quarantine After COVID-19 Exposure

by Shauna N. Correia
The Labor & Employment Law Blog

The CDC’s guidelines state that individuals should quarantine for 14 days after contact with someone with COVID-19, which can be reduced to 10 days if no symptoms developed after exposure.  Now that vaccines are becoming more widely available, employers are asking whether the quarantine period can be shortened or eliminated for their workers who have received the vaccine.

The CDC has stated that the quarantine period can be eliminated entirely for a fully vaccinated individual who meets all criteria – but the guidance is conditioned on the individual meeting all three criteria:

The criteria for allowing a vaccinated individual to skip quarantine – and continue working – after exposure to a COVID-19 case,

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