California: New COVID-19 Employer Reporting!

Written September 22, 2020

Categories: AD Advocacy, CP Advocacy, DP Advocacy, DT Advocacy, First to Know, FP Advocacy, GP Advocacy, IPDAA Advocacy, SM Advocacy

On Jan. 1, 2021, new reporting requirements regarding COVID-19 exposures in the workplace go into effect for all California employers.  The new law, signed by Governor Newsom, impacts both private and public employers including printing operations.
What Triggers The Notice Requirement?
The new law requires California employers to provide notice within one business day when they receive notice of a potential exposure of COVID-19. The new law defines “notice” to include any of the following:
  •  Notification from a public health official or licensed medical provider that an employee was exposed to a “qualifying individual” at the worksite;
  • Notification from an employee or their emergency contact that the employee is a “qualifying individual”;
  • Notification through the testing protocol of the employer that the employee is a “qualifying individual”; or
  • Notification from a subcontracted employer that a “qualifying individual” was on the worksite.

The law defines a “qualifying individual” as a person who either has a laboratory-confirmed case of COVID-19,  has a positive COVID-19 diagnosis from a licensed health care provider,   has a COVID-19 related order to isolate from a public health official, or has died from COVID-19.

In addition, if the number of employer reported cases meets the definition of a COVID-19 “outbreak” as defined by the State Department of Public Health (generally three cases), the employer must provide notice within 48 hours to the local public health agency. This notice must include the names, number, occupation and worksite of the employees, and the business address and NAICS code of the worksite. An employer that has such an outbreak must also notify the local public health department of any subsequent
laboratory-confirmed cases of COVID-19 at the worksite.

Who must be notified and what should the notice include?

The new notice requires employers to take these actions within one business day of a “potential exposure” based on a positive confirmed case of COVID-19 in the workplace:
• Provide written notice to all employees, and employers of subcontracted employees who were at the worksite within the infectious period who may have been exposed to COVID-19.  
• Provide written notice to employee representatives, including unions and sometimes attorneys, who may represent employees.
• Provide written notice to employees and/or employee representatives regarding COVID-19-related benefits that employee(s) may receive, including workers’ compensation benefits, COVID leave, paid sick leave, and the company’s anti-discrimination, anti-harassment, and anti-retaliation policies; and
• Provide notice to employees regarding the company’s disinfection protocols and safety plan to eliminate any further exposures, per CDC guidelines.

This written notice must be provided in the manner the employer normally uses to communicate employment-related information and may include, but not be limited to, personal service, email, or text message if it can reasonably be anticipated to be received by the employee within one business day. The notice shall be in both English and the language understood by the majority of the employees.

In addition, the new law provides that this notice to any exclusive representative must contain the same information as would be required in an incident report in a Cal/OSHA Form 300, unless the information is inapplicable or unknown to the employer.

All printing operations should begin the planning process now to comply with the notice requirements.  The new law also contains provisions that requires the State Department of Health to publish information that it receives from local public health authorities.  This information is intended to allow the public to track the number and frequency of COVID-19 outbreaks by industry and workplace.

Take time now to download PrUA’ s COVID-19 Preparedness and Response Plan to help map out your compliance strategy.  For further assistance, or if you have any questions, please contact Marci Kinter at mkinter@printing.org or Gary Jones at gjones@printing.org.