On June 17, the Cal-OSHA board approved a set of revisions to the Emergency Transmission Standard (ETS) for COVID-19 issued on June 11 (June 11 Revisions). Pursuant to Governor Newsom’s Executive Order (see link), the new revisions take effect as soon as they are filed with the California Secretary of State and conform Cal-OSHA
On June 10, 2021, OSHA updated general industry guidance for COVID-19 that is applicable to all workplaces. OSHA’s general industry guidance, which is advisory and creates no binding legal requirements, focuses on unvaccinated workers and others who are “at risk” (i.e., immunocompromised individuals). OSHA specifically states, “[u]nless otherwise required by federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules, and regulations, most employers no longer need to take steps to protect their fully vaccinated workers who are not otherwise at-risk from COVID-19 exposure.” Many employers are already implementing the actions and best practices recommended by OSHA for unvaccinated workers and at-risk workers. The Updated General Industry Guidance can be found here: Protecting Workers: Guidance on Mitigating and Preventing the Spread of COVD-19 in the Workplace.
The OSHA guidance focuses on unvaccinated and at-risk workers. OSHA included no recommendations that specifically apply to fully vaccinated workers (i.e., they can go without face coverings and physical distancing whether indoors or outdoors). OSHA guidance allows unvaccinated employees to go without a face covering if physically distanced.
After four hours of public comment and consideration, the Cal-OSHA Board voted to withdraw the amended ETS approved on June 3. Instead, the Board will publish a third revised set of revisions to the ETS and vote on a new amended ETS at their hearing on June 17.
The main reason for withdrawing the amended…
On June 3, 2021, California’s Occupational Safety & Healthy Standards Board approved significant revisions to the initial COVID-19-related Emergency Temporary Standards (ETS) originally implemented on November 19, 2020 (see Perkins Coie’s previous blog post here). The amended regulations can be found here and will likely become effective on June 15, 2021, pending review by the California Office of Administrative Law—to be completed within 10 days—and will stay in place for 180 days.…
Continue Reading Cal-OSHA Approves Revised COVID-19 Workplace Rules
On May 28, 2021 the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission updated its What You Should Know about COVID-19 and the ADA, the Rehabilitation Act, and Other EEO Laws. The EEOC also issued a new resource titled Federal Laws Protect You Against Employment Discrimination During the COVID-19 Pandemic which “explain[s] how federal employment discrimination laws protect workers during the pandemic.” These two publications were prepared before the CDC updated its guidance for fully vaccinated individuals on May 13, 2021 and “do not specifically address that new guidance.” As set forth by the EEOC in its press release, “the key updates to the technical assistance” are:…
Continue Reading EEOC Issues Updated COVID-19 Materials
On May 13, 2021, the CDC once again updated its guidance (here and here), significantly relaxing its standards for fully vaccinated individuals. “Fully vaccinated individuals” means that two weeks or more have passed since the person received either the second dose of a two-dose COVID-19 vaccine or one dose of a single-dose vaccine. Immunocompromised people, even if fully vaccinated, should consult their healthcare providers about the applicability of this new guidance.
The updated guidance provides that fully vaccinated individuals can:
- Resume activities they engaged in prior to the pandemic without wearing a mask or physically distancing, except where required by federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules, and regulations, including local business and workplace guidance.
- Refrain from testing following a known exposure unless they are residents or employees of a correctional or detention facility or a homeless shelter.
The CDC provided an updated infographic to help explain activities that unvaccinated and fully vaccinated people may engage in with corresponding risk levels.…
Continue Reading CDC Significantly Relaxes Mask Requirement For Fully Vaccinated Individuals
The CDC updated its guidance (here and here) and relaxed its standards in some instances for individuals who are fully vaccinated. This is because certain activities present a low risk of contracting COVID-19 for such individuals. “Fully vaccinated individuals” means that two weeks or more have passed since the person received either the second dose of a two-dose COVID-19 vaccine or one dose of a single-dose vaccine. Note, however, that immunocompromised people, even if fully vaccinated, should consult their healthcare provider about the applicability of this new guidance.
The updated guidance provides that the following regarding fully vaccinated people:
- Mask Wearing
- Do not need to wear masks or physically distance if they are visiting indoors with other fully vaccinated people or with unvaccinated people (including children) from a single household who are at low risk for severe COVID-19 disease
- May participate in outdoor activities and recreation without a mask, except in certain crowded settings and venues
- May travel domestically, do not need to test for COVID-19 before or after travel, and do not need to self-quarantine after travel
- Do not need to be tested before leaving the United States for international travel (unless required by the destination) and do not need to self-quarantine after returning to the United States (note that the fully vaccinated individual will still need a negative test to return to the United States and the CDC still recommends that the individual get a viral COVID-19 test three to five days after travel)
- Testing and Quarantining
- Do not need to be tested or quarantine following a known exposure to COVID-19 if asymptomatic, with some exceptions for specific settings, including employees of high-density workplaces (such as poultry processing plants), residents and employees of non-healthcare congregate settings, and dormitory residents
- Do not need to participate in routine screening testing if asymptomatic and feasible
Chicago recently enacted an ordinance granting employees rights in connection with getting a COVID-19 vaccine. Employers should be aware of these key provisions:
- An employer may not take adverse action against an employee who gets a vaccine during working hours.
- Regardless of whether an employer mandates vaccination, it cannot mandate that employees receive the vaccine
We have updated and added to our frequently asked questions (FAQs) for U.S. employers relating to COVID-19 and developments in employment law. The additional FAQs focus on transitioning employees who have been working remotely back to a physical office location. These new Q&As address topics…
On March 19, 2021, Governor Newsom approved SB 95, which requires COVID-19 supplemental sick leave through September 30, 2021 and creates new COVID-19 vaccine–related paid sick leave obligations for covered employers. The new law, which adds Sections 248.2 and 248.3 to California’s Labor Code, is effective immediately, but the employer obligation to provide COVID-19 supplemental paid sick leave does not take effect until March 29 (10 days after the date of enactment). It is important to note that the obligation to provide supplemental paid sick leave is retroactive to January 1, 2021, which means employers may owe back pay to employees who took covered leave on a previously unpaid basis, following the December 31, 2020 expiration of California’s previous supplemental sick leave legislation, discussed here.
The requirement is in addition to California’s mandated paid sick leave and may be used by covered employees upon oral or written request. An employee cannot be required to use any other paid or unpaid leave, time off, or vacation before the supplemental sick leave. The Labor Commissioner has developed a poster that employers are required to display or disseminate regarding the new requirements.