27 May

May 2021 California HR Legal Update

Posted at



Cal/OSHA Releases FAQ Regarding COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standards

 Update Applicable to:
All California employers.

What happened?
On May 5, 2021, Cal/OSHA issued FAQs meant to provide clarity for employers regarding the exclusion of fully vaccinated employees in the workplace if they were exposed to a confirmed positive COVID-19 case.

What are the details?
Prior to the FAQs, employers were required to still fully exclude employees who were exposed to COVID-19, regardless of vaccination status. The new FAQs make it clear that employers do not need to exclude fully vaccinated employees who are not exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 after exposure.

This guidance was published before the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) published their guidance regarding mask requirements for people fully vaccinated individuals against COVID-19. Employers will need to wait until June 15, 2021, for any major developments regarding face masks in California.

The FAQs can be found here.

What do employers need to do?
California employers should be wary of the requirements created by the California Department of Public Health, as their requirements are not entirely in line with the Emergency Temporary Standards enforced by Cal/OSHA.


Los Angeles County Passes Paid COVID-19 Vaccine Leave Ordinance

Update Applicable to:
All California employers in Los Angeles County.

What happened?
An urgency ordinance for COVID-19 Vaccine Leave (CVL) was passed on May 18, 2021, adding Chapter 8.205 to Title 8.

What are the details?
Chapter 8.205 was enacted on May 18, 2021 – it is retroactive to January 1, 2021, and will remain in effect until August 31, 2021. It will provide COVID-19 vaccine leave in addition to any job-protected paid leave employees receive under California’s paid sick leave (PSL) law and the Healthy Workplace Healthy Family Act. It applies to all employees performing any work in Los Angeles County’s unincorporated areas and more importantly, it is only available to those who have exhausted all available California supplemental paid sick leave (SPSL).

Full-time employees who have exhausted California SPSL can use up to four hours of CVL per injection, whereas part-time employees can use a proportionate amount, based on their normally scheduled work hours over the two-week period before the injection. As an example, the ordinance provides that 20-hour-per-week employees can use two hours of CVL per injection.

The CVL hours must be paid at their “normal rate of pay,” which is calculated using the employee’s highest average two-week pay throughout January 1, 2021 through May 18, 2021. The ordinance also requires employers to conspicuously display a written notice that is being created by the Los Angeles County Department of Consumer and Business Affairs (LACDCBA). As of May 21, 2021, the notice has not been posted so employers should monitor their website.

The ordinance can be read here.

An article on this topic can be found here.

What do employers need to do?
Employers should update their workplace policies to follow the guidelines and display the notice from LACDCBA.


Santa Clara County Required Vaccine Inquiries

Update Applicable to:
All Santa Clara County employers.

What happened?
The County of Santa Clara Emergency Operations Center issued a May 18 Order of The Health Officer Of the County of Santa Clara establishing focused safety measures to protect the community from COVID-19 requiring businesses to obtain the vaccination status of all “personnel” who are currently or will be working at a facility or worksite in the county.

What are the details?
Employers will be required by July 1, 2021, to inquire of their employees if they are vaccinated. Employers will need to keep the information documented and maintain the information securely. Employees are not required but employers are encouraged to see proof, such as an individual’s vaccine card. Until an employee certifies that they are fully vaccinated, they will be treated as if they were unvaccinated. Employers should inquire with people who refuse to provide an answer and employees who identify as unvaccinated every 14 days about their vaccination status. To maintain compliance with the order, businesses must maintain a record of (1) the request for vaccine status and (2) who is fully vaccinated and who is not fully vaccinated, until the provision of the Order requiring ascertainment of vaccination status is no longer effective.

The order can be found here.

What do employers need to do?
Santa Clara employers should update their workplace policies to reflect the new requirements.


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