The start of the pandemic lockdown saw employers facing a whirlwind of activity as they scrambled to create remote work rules, initiate masking and social distancing mandates and adapt to rapid fire legislative changes. As employers across the state begin contemplating “back to work” protocols it looks like another flurry of activity is on the horizon. We have outlined below several important milestones that California employers must be aware of as we head into Summer 2021.
- Cal/OSHA Emergency Temporary Standards (ETS): Cal/OSHA’s revised proposed ETS regulations are set for a Cal/OSHA Standards Board vote on June 3, 2021. Employers should anticipate a June 15, 2021 implementation of the revised regulations and be prepared to comply. The proposed regulations can be viewed here ahead of the June 3, 2021 Standards Board meeting. (See “Cal/OSHA Standards Board Publishes New, More Cautious ETS Revisions” in this issue)
- Beyond the Blueprint: As of June 15, 2021 California, businesses – in all sectors – listed in the state’s Blueprint Activities and Business Tiers Chart will be allowed to return to usual operations (with limited exception). However, employers will still be required to adhere to current California Department of Public Health guidelines for face coverings and Center for Disease Control travel and travel advisory recommendations. Employers subject to the Cal/OSHA COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standards (EST) must continue compliance as discussed above.
- CalSavers Retirement Savings Program (CalSavers): Originally signed into law January 1, 2017 and set to become active June 1, 2021, CalSavers provides employees who do not have access to an employer provided retirement benefit program a convenient, voluntary retirement savings alternative. Employers with five or more employees who do not currently offer an employee retirement savings program must take steps to assist employees in accessing CalSavers benefits. Eligible employers are required to comply with registration deadlines as follows:
- More than 100 employees: September 30, 2020 (Deadline has passed.)
- More than 50 employees: June 30, 2021
- 5 or more employees: June 30, 2022
NOTE: A CalSavers information packet must be provided to all newly hired employees at the time of hire. Employees are required to review and acknowledge receipt of the information packet at the time of hire. More information on CalSavers can be found here.
- Minimum Wage Increases: Many local minimum wage ordinances include scheduled increases set to take effect beginning July 1, 2021. The UC Berkeley Labor Center’s Inventory of City and County Minimum Wage Ordinances is a great resource to check your location for any upcoming wage increases.
- Distracted Driving License Points: Violating existing hands-free cell phone driving laws is currently punishable by a fine. Starting July 1, 2021, a second violation within 36 months of a prior conviction for the same offense will result in a point being added to the driver’s record. This includes violations for talking or texting while driving without using a hands-free device.
This heightened penalty is a strong reminder of how important driver safety should be taken when it comes to overall risk management. Consider the following tips if you have employees who drive for company business:
- Audit existing cell phone and company driving policies (e.g., does either policy require the use of hands-free devices, prohibit the use of cell phones/electronic devices while driving, require employees to immediately report violations).
- Send out a quick reminder about your company’s existing cell phone and company driving policies to all employees who drive for company business.
- Address safe driving practices at your next Safety Meeting
2019/2020 EEO-1 Component 1 Data Collection: Employers subject to EEO-1 data collection reporting should have received notice that the 2019 and 2020 EEO-1 Component 1 data collection is now open. Employers have until July 19, 2021 to submit two years of data. The latest filing updates and additional information can be found on the EEOC’s newly launched EEO-1 website.
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