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Governor Signs Bill Extending SPSL & Cal/OSHA Standards Board Considers Non-Emergency COVID-19 Standard

On Behalf of | Sep 30, 2022 | COVID, Employment Law, OSHA, SPSL

While Supplemental Paid Sick Leave (“SPSL”) was set to expire on September 30, 2022, employers should be aware that on September 29, 2022, Governor Newsom signed AB 152 that would extend SPSL to the end of the year.  (See Assembly Bill 152.)  This bill does not provide additional eligibility to employees and allows employers to require additional follow-up testing in defined situations.  The bill provides grant opportunities to small employers for SPSL expenses.

Governor Newsom signed several other COVID-19-related bills that have significant impacts on employers as well.  AB-1751 extends the COVID-19 workers compensation presumption until January 1, 2024 (AB-1751). The COVID-19 workplace exposure notice in Labor Code § 6409.6 has been eased and permits posted notice subject to certain requirements.  (AB-2693).

Governor Newsom signed a substantial amount of legislation unrelated to COVID-19 such as AB-1041, which expands the California Family Rights Act leave eligibility to an employee for the serious health condition of a “designated person.”

Cal/OSHA’s Emergency Temporary Standard relating to COVID-19 Prevention has been in effect since November 2020.  On September 15, 2022, California’s Occupational Safety & Health Standards Board (“OSHSB”) met to consider public comments on a non-emergency standard for COVID-19 Prevention, that will likely apply for two years after the standard’s effective date.

Whether the OSHSB adopts the proposed standard, adopts a different standard, or fails to adopt a standard at all remains to be seen; however, a few of the proposed provisions in the proposed regulation warrant highlighting:

  • There is no requirement for exclusion pay.
  • The requirement for a written COVID-19 Prevention Program is consolidated into the general Injury and Illness Prevention Program.
  • Employers must review State and local health department guidance to best determine appropriate COVID-19 prevention controls.
  • Employers must still exclude COVID-19 cases from the workplace and review CDPH guidance with respect to close contacts. Employees who have close contact in the workplace must be offered testing at no cost during paid time.
  • Employers must notify close contacts and the exposed workplace.
  • Employers must provide face coverings and ensure they are worn by employees when required by CDPH regulation or order, subject to a number of defined exceptions. Employers also will need to provide respirators (e.g., N95 masks) to employees who are working indoors or in vehicles with more than one person upon request.
  • The proposed regulation still contains outbreak requirements with additional COVID-19 prevention requirements.
  • There are still employer-provided transport and housing requirements.

If you have questions concerning your business’ compliance with COVID-19 regulations, please contact the attorneys at Sagaser, Watkins & Wieland, P.C.