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02 Jul

June 2020 California HR Legal Updates

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CDPH Provides Guidance for Employers Responding to COVID-19 Outbreaks

What happened?
The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) has issued guidance to employers who may be dealing with possible COVID-19 outbreaks as workers return to worksites.

What are the details?
The CDPH has released guidance for employers to refer to as employees start returning to the workplace. As more employees show up every day for work, there is an increased chance of an outbreak. The CDPH’s guidelines outline what steps an employer can do to create an outbreak plan.

 Industry specific guidelines can be found here.

 An article summarizing the guidelines can be found here.

 The actual guidelines can be found here.

 What do employers need to do?

 Employers should review their industry-specific guidelines and start creating a workplace plan for handling an outbreak. Employers should research any guidelines regarding workplace outbreaks issued by their local health department.


Governor Newsom and CDPH Issue New Face Mask Regulations

What happened?
Governor Newsom alongside the CDPH have issued regulations making facemasks mandatory for most California employees.

 What are the details?
On June 18, 2020, Governor Newsom announced that the CDPH has issued new guidelines requiring facemasks for workers that do the following:

  • Interact with members of the public in-person
    • Work in a space visited by the public, even if there are no members of the public present
    • Work in a space where food is prepared or packaged for sale or distribution
    • Work in or walk through common areas of a business
    • Drive or operate public transportation, including private car service

Employers will be required to provide facemasks for any employees who fit the above criteria. The guidelines indicate that surgical masks should be reserved for those working in the medical,

manufacturing, and food processing industries, as well as those working in community/social services, social work, in-home daycare, law enforcement/public safety, and schools.

For industry specific guidelines, click here.

For the general guidelines and a list of the exemptions made, click here.

What do employers need to do?
Employers should review their industry-specific guidelines and update their workplace policies as soon as possible. Prepare to purchase masks for essential workers who work in industries that fall under the requirements.


New California Workplace Safety Standards for Nighttime Agricultural Workers

What happened?
The California Division of Occupational Safety Health (Cal/OSHA) has issued new standards for agricultural workers who work between sunset and sunrise, effective July 1, 2020.

What are the details?
Cal/OSHA has issued new “common-sense” standards regarding work conditions for nighttime agricultural workers. Employers will need to evaluate the need for lighting in the workplace to ensure worker safety, including the lighting needs for that operating machinery. Supervisors must conduct safety meetings at the beginning of every shift to inform workers about their surroundings and high traffic areas.

 The news release from the Department of Industrial Relations can be found here.

 The breakdown of each change to the labor code can be found here.

What do employers need to do?
Employers utilizing nighttime agricultural labor should begin purchasing lighting equipment, as needed, in order to meet the requirements created by Cal/OSHA. Supervisors will need to be trained on how to conduct their daily meetings with workers and what to identify for the workers every shift. Employers should update their handbooks to include policies regarding company issued lighting if provided to individual employees.


Paid Family Leave Duration Increased Two Weeks

What happened?
Paid family leave has been extended two additional weeks.

What are the details?
As part of Governor Newsom’s 2020-2021 budget (SB-83), the Paid Family Leave duration will be increased from six weeks to eight weeks. This will also come with increased protections for those on Paid Family Leave. This was not the case before July 1, 2020. Previously, Paid Family Leave did not grant job protection status. Governor Newsom’s budget will allow it the same protections granted to other leaves like the California Family Rights Act and the Family and Medical Leave Act, both of which are unpaid.

Read SB-83 in its entirety here.

Read more about Paid Family Leave here.

What do employers need to do?
Employers should review current policies and procedures, and ensure proper benefits are provided to staff who file for leave.


Summary of State Laws (Q1 &Q2 2020)

 Oakland Hotel Worker Safety Protections

Effective July 1, 2020, ballot Measure Z creates the Department of Workplace and Employment Standards to enforce these protections. Under Measure Z, hotel employers with 50 or more guest rooms must provide their employees with the following:

  • Emergency contact devices (“panic buttons”)
  • Rights to report violent or threatening behavior
  • Restrictions on the maximum space to be cleaned
  • Limitations on mandatory overtime

The measure also contains retaliation and retention protections for hotel employees and includes notice and recordkeeping requirements. 

Restraining Order

Effective September 1, 2020, an employer, co-worker, or school employee may file a court petition requesting a gun violence restraining order against an employee who poses a significant danger of causing personal injury to others by having in their custody or control, owning, purchasing, possessing, or receiving a firearm.