Cal/OSHA has quietly made a number of updates to the FAQs for its COVID-19 Prevention Emergency Short-term Requirements (ETS).  The additions shed further gentle on, and in some regards revise earlier steering, regarding Isolation and Quarantine, Vaccines, and Exclusion Pay.

Isolation and Quarantine:

California’s Division of Public Well being (CDPH) lately up to date its steering on isolation and quarantine and its steering for Ok-12 colleges.  The up to date steering prescribes a shorter quarantine interval for asymptomatic, unvaccinated individuals who had been in shut contact with a COVID case than what the June 17 ETS supplied.

Govt Order N-84-20 part 9 states that if the quarantine or isolation intervals within the ETS exceed the exclusion intervals really useful by the CDPH, they are going to be suspended.  Which means that the enforceable interval is the shorter interval described within the CDPH steering, not the longer interval described within the June 17, 2021 model of the ETS.  Cal/OSHA has up to date its FAQs to align with the CDPH steering.

For an asymptomatic unvaccinated worker, together with these within the Ok-12 faculty setting, who has been in shut contact with a COVID-19 case, there are two choices for that worker to return to work ahead of the total 14 days from the date of final publicity:

  1. If the worker will get examined for COVID-19 after day 5, and exams destructive, they will discontinue self-quarantine after 7 days from the date of the final publicity; or
  2.  If the worker doesn’t will get examined for COVID-19, they will discontinue self-quarantine after 10 days from the date of final publicity.

Choice 1 was beforehand not obtainable for asymptomatic, unvaccinated staff.

As a reminder, below CDPH’s suggestions, an uncovered particular person doesn’t need to quarantine if (1) they had been totally vaccinated earlier than the publicity and stay asymptomatic or (2) an uncovered particular person examined constructive for COVID-19 earlier than their new, current publicity and it has been lower than 3 months since they began having signs from that earlier an infection (or since their first constructive COVID-19 check if asymptomatic).

Vaccine Mandate:

As we lately advised, President Biden introduced that he has ordered OSHA to implement guidelines requiring massive employers to both mandate COVID-19 vaccinations or topic staff to weekly COVID-19 testing.  Cal/OSHA added FAQ 9 to clarify that, as a “state plan state,” California is required to undertake occupational security and well being requirements “not less than as efficient” as federal OSHA’s.  Which means that if federal OSHA adopts a normal that requires employers with 100 or extra staff to require both vaccines or weekly testing for workers, California (and different states with state OSHA plans) may have 30 days after the federal customary is promulgated to undertake a comparable customary.

Exclusion Pay/COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Go away Expiration:

On October 7, 2021, Cal/OSHA up to date FAQ No. 2, to substantiate that though the COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Go away regulation lapsed on September 30, 2021, employees who took time unpaid off in 2021 however didn’t obtain the SPSL that they had been entitled to, can nonetheless request pay after September 30.

And, Cal/OSHA confirmed, though SPSL expired, the ETS nonetheless requires employers to offer paid exclusion depart to staff who’re excluded from work as a consequence of a office COVID-19 publicity and  1) the worker was not assigned to telework throughout that point; and a couple of) the worker didn’t obtain Incapacity Funds or Staff’ Compensation Short-term Incapacity Funds through the exclusion interval.

The Cal/OSHA FAQs additionally hyperlink to the up to date Labor Commissioner web site, which printed a press release that confirmed that employees taking 2021 SPSL as of September 30, 2021 might proceed to take the depart they’re at the moment on even when the entitlement extends previous September 30, 2021.  Which means that employers who “minimize off” an worker’s SPSL on September 30, 2021 whereas they had been out on an SPSL coated depart ought to verify whether or not the worker had any of the 80 SPSL hours remaining after September 30.  In that case, employers might must pay out that further depart stability if it was nonetheless obtainable and an worker began their SPSL on or earlier than September 30, 2021 and accomplished SPSL after that date.

We’ll proceed monitoring the federal and state company pointers.  In the meantime, employers with questions on how the COVID-19 rules apply to their office ought to contact their common Weintraub Tobin employment legal professional.