The 2022 legislative season is over. The Legislature had until Aug 31, 2022 to pass bills, and Governor Gavin Newsom had until Sept. 30, 2022 to sign or veto bills. The...
On September 29, 2022, California’s Governor signed Assembly Bill (AB) 2693, which amends and extends the COVID-19 workplace notice requirements stipulated in AB 685 until January 1, 2024. AB 2693 can be found here.
The existing law, AB 685, was enacted in 2020 and requires employers to provide written notice to employees who may have been exposed to COVID-19 in the workplace. The notice must be provided to all employees at the worksite within one business day and must include information regarding benefits available to employees, the company’s disinfection and safety plan, and a statement of anti-discrimination and anti-retaliation. For a full description of AB 685 see the CAL/OSHA Imposes New Notice and Reporting Obligations for COVID-19 Workplace Exposure update on Michael Sullivan & Associates' free eBook, Navigating COVID-19: a Legal Guide for Employers. Originally, this notification requirement was set to expire on January 1, 2023. AB 2693 extends this reporting requirement to January 1, 2024, and gives employers another option for complying with the notification requirements.
AB 2693 allows employers to post the notification of a potential COVID-19 exposure as an alternative to written notification. If the employer elects to post notification, it must comply with several requirements, described below:
- The notice must be displayed in all places where notices to employees concerning workplace rules or regulations are customarily posted. If the employer posts workplace notices on an existing employee portal, this notice must also be posted on the employee portal.
- This notice must be posted within one business day from when the employer is notified of a potential COVID-19 exposure and must remain posted for no less than fifteen calendar days.
- The notice must be provided in English and in the language understood by the majority of employees.
- The notice must provide the following information:
- The dates on which an employee, or employee of a subcontracted employer, with a confirmed case of COVID-19 was on the worksite premises within the infectious period;
- The location of the exposures, including the department, floor, building, or other area. (However, this identification does not need to be so specific as to allow individual workers to be identified). AB 685 required the employer to notify employees at the affected "worksite." This requirement is intended to meet that requirement;
- The name and contact details of the employer representative whom employees should contact for information regarding COVID-19-related benefits to which the employee may be entitled under applicable federal, state, or local laws, as well as anti-retaliation and anti-discrimination protections of the employee;
- The name and contact details of the employer representative whom employees should contact to receive a copy of the employer’s cleaning and disinfection plan.
Additionally, the employer must keep a log of all dates the notice was posted and must allow the Labor Commissioner to access these records.
Although AB 2693 gives employers an alternative way to provide the written notice to employees required by AB 685, it still requires employers to provide written notice to the union representatives of any COVID positive employee and those employees who were exposed. The notice must still be provided within one business day.
Some definitions in the original law have been updated and tied to Cal/OSHA and California Department of Health Services definitions. As a reminder, these definitions are:
- "Close contact" is an individual who has been in close contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19, as defined by Cal/OSHA. Cal/OSHA has updated the definition to "being within six feet of a COVID-19 case for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or greater in any 24-hour period within or overlapping with the infectious period defined by this section, regardless of the use of face cover."
- "Infectious period" means the time a confirmed case of COVID-19 is infectious, as defined by the State Department of Public Health. The CDPH defines the infectious period as follows:
- For symptomatic infected persons, the infections period begins two days before the infected person had any symptoms and ends on Day 10 after symptoms first appeared (or through Days 5-10 if testing negative on Day 5 or later) if no fewer than 24 hours have passed with no fever, without the use of fever-reducing medications, and symptoms have improved for asymptomatic infected persons, the infections period begins two days before the positive specimen collection date through Day 10 after the positive specimen collection date (or through Days 5-10 if testing negative on Day 5 or later) after the specimen collection date for their first positive COVID-19 test.
- "Worksite" means the building, store, facility, agricultural field, or other location where a worker worked during the infectious period. It does not apply to buildings, floors, or other locations that an individual with a confirmed case of COVID-19 did not enter, locations where the worker worked by themselves without exposure to other employees, or to a worker’s personal residence or alternative work location chosen by the worker when working remotely.