Effective January 1, 2021, California employers will be required under Assembly Bill (AB) 685 to provide detailed notices to employees when there is a COVID-19 case in the workplace and to notify local public health departments of COVID-19 “outbreaks” in the workplace. California employers should begin assessing their practices now to ensure that they will be ready to comply with AB 685 come January 1.
California Governor Gavin Newsom recently signed Senate Bill (SB) 1159, which adds COVID-19-related illness or death to the list of injuries covered under the state’s workers’ compensation program and creates new employer reporting responsibilities. The law codifies and extends Executive Order N-62-20, which was issued on May 6, 2020 and created a rebuttable presumption that employees with a COVID-19-related illness on or before July 5, 2020 contracted the virus at work and were eligible for workers’ compensation. The new law is retroactive to July 6, 2020 and expires on January 1, 2023.
Disputable Presumption for COVID-19 Cases During Workplace “Outbreaks”
Workers’ compensation generally provides benefits for employees who are injured or become ill in the course of their employment. Given the wide reach of COVID-19, however, it may be difficult to identify where the employee was exposed to the coronavirus for the purposes of showing that their exposure was caused by and arose out of their employment. In California, however, SB 1159 creates a “disputable presumption” that a COVID-19-related illness arose out of and in the course of employment, and is thus compensable, for employees who test positive during a COVID-19 “outbreak” at the employee’s “specific place of employment,” and whose employer has five or more employees. The new law specifies that workers’ compensation awarded for COVID-19 claims includes “full hospital, surgical, medical treatment, disability indemnity, and death benefits.”
Governor Newsom has signed Senate Bill (SB) 1383 to significantly expand the California Family Rights Act (CFRA). The CFRA is California’s counterpart to the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and provides unpaid family and medical leave of up to 12 weeks for eligible employees. The new law’s key revisions are summarized below and take effect on January 1, 2021.
Continue Reading New Law Expands California Family Rights Act
California employers are ringing in the new year with a host of new workplace laws. Here is an overview of new employment-related laws, along with recommendations for compliance. All of the laws, unless otherwise specified, went into effect on January 1, 2020.
Continue Reading New California Workplace Laws for 2020