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June 22, 2021

Some Things Remain

While many COVID-19 requirements are changing, others remain the same. Below are a few important reminders of statewide mandates that – for the foreseeable future – remain in effect.

California’s COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave (SPSL) law remains in effect until September 30, 2021. As a reminder, employees are entitled to SPSL when an employee is:

  • Advised by health care provider to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID-19.
  • Attending an appointment to receive a COVID-19 vaccination.
  • Experiencing symptoms associated with receiving a COVID-19 vaccination such that the employee is unable to work (e.g., in the office or remotely).
  • Experiencing COVID-19-related symptoms and is seeking medical treatment.
  • Caring for a family member who is subject to a quarantine or isolation order or has been advised to self-quarantine.
  • Caring for a child whose school or place of care is closed or unavailable for COVID-19-related reasons.

Employers subject to local paid sick leave ordinances should be aware that such benefits may require leave be provided beyond the September 30, 2021, statewide cutoff.

Employers should also be aware that the workers’ compensation presumption codified by SB 1159 remains in effect until January 1, 2023.  The statute applies to California employers with five or more employees and employees – including farmworkers – who test positive for COVID-19 during an outbreak at their place of work on or after July 6, 2020. For additional information on COVID-19 outbreaks review Cal/OSHA’s COVID-19 Prevention Emergency Temporary Standards (ETS) FAQ’s

The statute establishes a rebuttable presumption of an industrial injury or illness where the employee’s positive test occurred during a period of outbreak at the employee’s place of employment. Evidence controverting the presumption may include, but is not limited to, evidence of measures in place to reduce potential transmission of COVID-19 in the employee’s place of employment and evidence of an employee’s nonoccupational risks of COVID-19 infection. The statute also places a burden on employers to notify their claims administrator within 3 days of being made aware of an employee positive test. The claims administrator is then charged with determining if an “outbreak” has occurred. SB 1159 remains in effect until January 1, 2023.

In addition, while the COVID-19 Prevention Emergency Temporary Standards (ETS) was recently amended, many of the original ETS requirements remain in place, including the following:

  • An effective written COVID-19 Prevention Program.
  • Providing effective training and instruction to employees on the employer’s prevention plan and their rights under the ETS.
  • Providing notification to public health departments of outbreaks.
  • Providing notification to employees of exposure and close contacts.
  • Requirements to offer testing after potential exposures.
  • Requirements for responding to COVID-19 cases and outbreaks.
  • Quarantine and exclusion pay requirements.
  • Basic prevention requirements for employer-provided housing and transportation.

While we are all anxious to put some, if not all things COVID-19 behind us, employers must remain steadfast in continuing to manage risk levels associated with these lingering COVID-19-related obligations.

Growers seeking further information about their continuing COVID-19 obligations, should contact Western Growers.