COVID-19 States of Emergency Ending
The federal government and the State of California announced they are ending their states of emergency related to the COVID-19 pandemic. California has announced it is lifting its state of emergency on February 28, 2023. In January, the White House announced that the national and public health emergencies related to COVID-19 will end on May 11.
Municipalities are following suit. For example, San Francisco announced on February 16 that its COVID-19 public health emergency declaration will expire on February 28. This means San Francisco employers are no longer required to provide their workers with 80 hours of Public Health Emergency Leave (PHEL) for COVID-19-related reasons. Prior analysis of San Francisco’s PHEL is available here. Also, the City of Los Angeles and the City of Long Beach ended their supplemental paid sick leave (PSL) on February 15 and February 21, respectively. A description of the status of the City of Los Angeles’ supplemental PSL can be found here.
Unlike the other cities, Oakland is considering extending its local state of emergency, which would extend local supplemental PSL related to COVID-19. Los Angeles County has not indicated when it will end its local emergency and, in turn, its supplemental PSL program. Thus, employers in unincorporated areas of Los Angeles County and the city of Oakland should continue to monitor.
Cal/OSHA’s COVID-19 Non-Emergency Regulation
Even with states of emergency being lifted, employers must continue to follow the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health’s (Cal/OSHA) COVID-19 regulations. On February 3, 2023, the California Office of Administrative Law (OAL) approved Cal/OSHA’s COVID-19 Prevention Non-Emergency Regulation (Non-Emergency Regulation). Cal/OSHA passed the Non-Emergency Regulation on December 15, 2022; OAL approval had been anticipated for weeks. These new regulations went into effect immediately upon OAL’s approval and will continue until February 3, 2025. Employers are required to keep records related to the Non-Emergency Regulation until February 3, 2026.
The Non-Emergency Regulation continues some requirements of the COVID-19 Prevention Emergency Temporary Standards (ETS), as well as new provisions designed to make it easier for employers to protect workers and allow flexibility if changes are made to guidance from the California Department of Public Health (CDPH). Cal/OSHA has posted a fact sheet and FAQs for reference.
Employers should seek the advice of counsel if they have questions on how to modify their policies and practices to comply with the Non-Emergency Regulation.