California Governor Gavin Newsom has signed into law several pieces of COVID-19-related legislation.
1. Assembly Bill (AB) 1751
Assembly Bill 17511 modifies previous legislation (SB 1159)2 that established a Workers' Compensation rebuttable presumption that an employee's illness or death related to COVID-19 is an occupational injury and therefore eligible for workers' compensation benefits if certain criteria are met. It also established a reporting requirement for employers to provide information about COVID-19 cases to their workers' compensation claims administrator.
- Labor Code section 3212.86 applies to COVID-19 illnesses contracted before July 5, 2020 if the employee tested positive for, or was diagnosed, with COVID-19 within 14 days after performing work for the employer
- Labor Code section 3212.87 applies to specified police officers and firefighters
- Labor Code section 3212.88 applies during a COVID-19 "outbreak" (as defined in the statute) at an employer's place of employment (for employers with five or more employees)
Effective Jan. 1, 2023
- AB 1751 extends the expiration date of Labor Code sections 3212.86, 3212.87, and 3212.88 until 1/1/2024
- This bill also amends section 3212.87 to include active firefighting members of a fire department at the State Department of State Hospitals, the State Department of Developmental Services, the Military Department, and the Department of Veterans Affairs and to officers of a state hospital under the jurisdiction of the State Department of State Hospitals and the State Department of Developmental Services.
2. Assembly Bill (AB) 2693
Assembly Bill 26933 modifies existing law that requires employers to provide notice to the local public health agency in the event of a COVID-19 outbreak. Existing law also requires that an employer who receives a notice of potential exposure to COVID-19 be required to take specified actions within one business day of the notice of potential exposure, including providing written notice to all employees on the premises at the same worksite that they may have been exposed to COVID-19.
Effective Jan. 1, 2023
- AB 2693 amends existing law in Labor Code section 6325 and extends the authority of the Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) to prohibit the performance of an operation or process, or entry into that place of employment when operation, or process, or any part thereof, exposes workers to the risk of infection with COVID-19, so as to constitute an imminent hazard to employees. Notice of the prohibition is to be posted in a conspicuous location at the place of employment and makes violating the prohibition or removing the notice, except as specified, a crime. Prohibition must be issued in a manner so as not to materially interrupt the performance of critical governmental functions essential to ensuring public health and safety functions or the delivery of electrical power, renewable natural gas, or water. These provisions must not prevent the entry or use, with the division's knowledge and permission, for the sole purpose of eliminating the dangerous conditions.
- AB 2693 also amends existing law in Labor Code section 6409.6 and provides that employers no longer have to give notice to the local public health agency in the event of a COVID-19 outbreak.
- The California Department of Public Health will also no longer be required to post workplace information received from local public health departments about COVID-19 cases and outbreaks.
- AB 2693 revises and recasts the notification requirements and authorizes an employer to prominently display a notice in all places where notices to employees concerning workplace rules or regulations are customarily posted and requires the notice to remain posted for 15 days.
- This bill also requires an employer to keep a log of all the dates the notice was posted, and requires the employer to allow the Labor Commissioner to access those records.
- This bill extends these provisions until January 1, 2024.
- This bill amends Sections 6325 and 6409.6 of the Labor Code.