By Heather Sager, Jill Ripke, Brittany Sachs and Matthew Goldberg

On November 19, 2020, Cal/OSHA voted 6-0 to implement sweeping new temporary emergency COVID-19 regulations (COVID Regulations) which require employers to implement a written COVID-19 prevention program with 11 categories of protocols covering everything from employee communications to appropriate face coverings. Crafting a

By Jill Ripke and Lindsay Holloman

California has issued a Limited Stay at Home Order (Order) for counties under Tier One (Purple) of California’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy, requiring that all gatherings with members of other households and all activities conducted outside the residence, lodging, or temporary accommodation with members of other households cease

By Calvin Keith and Edward Choi

Oregon’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued a temporary rule in response to the COVID-19 pandemic that went into effect on November 16, 2020, although many of the rule’s requirements have a later effective date.

The rule includes a mask mandate, sanitation protocols, a required poster, a

By Jill Ripke and Aimee Raimer

The DOL recently issued guidance clarifying that employer-sponsored COVID-19 incentive payments, such as hazard pay, must be included in the regular rate for calculating overtime payments.

Employers may compensate non-exempt employees in a variety of ways. The amount of overtime pay must be calculated using the employee’s regular rate of pay, which generally is calculated by dividing an employee’s total compensation for employment, less any statutory exclusions, by the total number of hours worked.

The FLSA provides an exhaustive list of payments that may be excluded from the regular rate of pay when calculating overtime payments. Recently, the DOL issued guidance clarifying that employer-paid incentive payments, including hazard pay for work performed during the COVID-19 emergency, do not meet any statutorily authorized exclusion and thus must be included in the regular rate used to compute employees’ overtime pay. This requirement applies both to private and state or local government employers who have opted to provide incentive payments to employees for working during the national health crisis.
Continue Reading DOL Issues Guidance that Employer-Sponsored COVID-19 Incentive Payments Must Be Included in the Regular Rate for Calculating Overtime Payments

By Heather Sager, Jill Ripke, and Matthew Goldberg

On September 17, 2020, as part of a trio of new COVID-19 protections for employees, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed AB 685, the text of which is available here. AB 685 requires employers to provide written notice to employees and employers of subcontractors of all potential exposure to COVID-19 within one business day of receiving notice of the potential exposure and notify the local public health agency of outbreaks. In addition, the law enhances Cal/OSHA’s enforcement powers, including the ability to shutter businesses experiencing COVID-19 outbreaks. In a small bit of relief for employers, the law does not take effect until January 1, 2021. The California Department of Industrial Relations has also published some initial FAQs, available here.
Continue Reading Heightened Cal/OSHA Enforcement Powers Accompany New COVID-19 Notice Requirement for All California Employers

By Jill Ripke and Alejandra Jimenez

On September 17, 2020, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed Senate Bill 1159 (SB-1159), which eases workers’ compensation requirements for employees who contract COVID-19 on the job.   SB 1159 extends protections similar to Governor Newsom’s Executive Order N-62-20, which expired on July 5, 2020.  SB-1159 takes effect immediately through January 1, 2023.

Under SB-1159, for purposes of workers’ compensation, a compensable workplace “injury” now includes illness or death from COVID-19 under specified circumstances. In contrast to existing law, which requires most employees to prove they suffered an injury or illness in the course of employment, an employee is presumed to have contracted COVID-19 on the job if there was an outbreak where they work.  It is thus up to the employer to rebut the “disputable presumption,” and the bill specified ways to do so.
Continue Reading SB 1159 Expands Presumption of Workers’ Compensation liability for COVID-19 Illness in California