CA Legislative Update: New Requirements Enacted on CA Employers – Assembly Bill 685

January 7, 2021California

Effective January 1, 2021, the following new responsibilities will be imposed on California employers:

  • All employees at a worksite must be notified of any potential COVID-19 exposures, any COVID-19-related benefits and protections, and COVID-19 disinfection and safety measures that will be taken at the worksite in response to the potential exposure
  • Employers must notify local public health agencies of all workplace outbreaks. An outbreak is defined as three or more laboratory-confirmed cases of COVID-19 within a two-week period among employees who live in different households

Additionally, AB 685 provides Cal/OSHA with the authority to do the following:

  • From January 1, 2021 until January 1, 2023, Cal/OSHA can issue an Order Prohibiting Use (OPU) to shut down an entire worksite or a specific worksite area that exposes employees to an imminent hazard related to COVID-19
  • From January 1, 2021 until January 1, 2023, Cal/OSHA can issue citations for serious violations related to COVID-19 without giving employers 15-day notice before issuance

AB 685 Resources:

Frequently Asked Questions

AB-685 COVID-19: Imminent Hazard to Employees, Exposure, Notification and Serious Violations.

Recent Requirements Enacted on California Employers

Effective November 30, 2020, Cal/OSHA imposed an emergency temporary standard related to COVID-19 infection prevention requiring that:

  • Employers establish, implement, and maintain an effective, written COVID-19 Prevention Program (CPP)
  • Employers provide effective training and instruction to employees on how COVID-19 is spread, infection prevention techniques, and information regarding COVID-19-related benefits that affected employees may be entitled to under applicable federal, state, or local laws

§3205 Resources:

Frequently Asked Questions

§3205. COVID-19 Prevention.

Cal/OSHA COVID-19 Guidance and Resources

Recent Requirements (Continued)

Effective September 17, 2020, legislation imposed a bill to define “injury” for an employee to include illness or death resulting from the 2019 novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) under specified circumstances, until January 1, 2023.

The bill:

  • Creates a disputable presumption, as specified, that the injury arose out of and in the course of the employment and is compensable, for specified dates of injury
  • Limits the applicability of the presumption under certain circumstances
  • Require an employee to exhaust their paid sick leave benefits and meet specified certification requirements before receiving any temporary disability benefits or, for police officers, firefighters, and other specified employees, a leave of absence
  • Makes a claim relating to a COVID-19 illness presumptively compensable, as described above, after 30 days or 45 days, rather than 90 days
  • Allows for a presumption of injury for all employees whose fellow employees at their place of employment experience specified levels of positive testing, and whose employer has five or more employees. (Until January 1, 2023)

SB 1159 Resources:

Frequently Asked Questions

SB-1159 Workers’ Compensation: COVID-19, Critical Workers.

Marsh & McLennan Agency is Ready to Help

Understanding and responding to so many new regulations can place a burden on your operations. MMA has the resources to help you understand and comply with new legal obligations during these challenging times.

For more information, contact your MMA representative.