In September, 2020, California passed AB 685, which laid out new notification and reporting requirements for California employers dealing with Covid-19 exposure. Employers may recall that AB 685 authorized Cal/OSHA (California's state OSHA agency) to issue "stop work orders" for workplaces that the agency concluded posed a risk of imminent hazard arising out of Covid-19.
It also imposed various notice requirements if there is a Covid-19 exposure in the workplace and also requires notice to the local public health agency when there is a determination that there is a Covid-19 outbreak in the workplace. That law took effect on January 1, 2021.
On October 5, 2021, another piece of legislation (AB 654) was passed by the California legislature clarifying obligations under AB 685 for employers facing potential Covid-19 exposure. The key points to take away from AB 654 are as follows:
- The bill clarifies that employers are now mandated to notify the local public health agency of the Covid-19 outbreak within 48 hours or one (1) business day, whichever is later, of the determination that the location was experiencing an outbreak.
- AB 685 exempted certain facilities from this reporting obligation and AB 654 adds community clinics, community care facilities, adult day health centers and child daycare facilities to the list of exempted entities.
- The bill modifies the obligation for employers to provide information on COVID-19 employee-related benefits to only apply to employees who were on-site at the same location as the qualifying individual within the infectious period.
- The bill also alters the notification requirement regarding the cleaning and disinfection plan the employer is implementing to only apply to: (i) employees and (ii) the employers of subcontracted employees who were on-site, at the same location as the qualifying individual within the infectious period.
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