COVID-19 appears poised to remain with us on a long-term basis, and with every passing day, guidelines appear to become more lax. For example, the CDC now requires a person who tests positive to isolate for five days as compared to the much more rigorous requirements of months and years past. Given this new normal, many employers are asking what if anything is currently mandated in respect to COVID-19 and the workplace? While many states have relaxed or eliminated entirely workplace-related COVID rules, some states continue to keep COVID rules on the books.
California is one such state, having recently enacted two new laws speaking to COVID-related compliance. AB 152 expands COVID-19 Supplemental Sick Leave benefits through December 31, 2022, allowing employees to take paid leave for COVID-related reasons and/or for treating themselves or a family member for COVID-19. Although this leave expires at the end of 2022, employees who are in the midst of COVID sick leave at the turn of the year may continue their leave into 2023. Employees who took leave in 2022 may retroactively request pay for their leave, and the law does not set a deadline for such requests.
Likewise, AB 2693 extends and amends the requirement to notify employees of COVID exposure in California. The new law allows an employer to prominently display a notice regarding COVID exposure in all places where notices are customarily posted with the dates the employee with the COVID case was on the premises. This is in lieu of required written notice being sent to employees. The notice must stay posted for 15 days and the employer is required to keep a log of the dates the notice is posted. AB 2693 also removes the requirement for an employer to notify the local public health agency in the case of a COVID outbreak.
As COVID-19 appears to be here to stay, it is important that employers continue to track both the CDC guidelines as well as state and local laws to ensure compliance on an ongoing basis.