Although many new employment laws went into effect on January 1, 2024, several COVID-19-related regulations and requirements expire this year.
COVID-19 Notice Requirements. The Labor Code provision requiring California employers to post or send notices of workplace COVID-19 exposures expired on December 31, 2023. However, Cal-OSHA’s non-emergency regulation remains in effect until February 2025, which requires employers to notify employees and independent contractors who had “close contact” in the workplace. Also, if an employer excludes an employee from the workplace for COVID-19-related reasons (including “close contact” exposure), they must give employees information about COVID-19-related benefits to which they may be entitled.
Workers’ Compensation Presumption. The rebuttable presumption that an employee’s COVID-19 illness is an occupational injury and therefore eligible for workers’ compensation benefits expired on January 1, 2024.
Local Ordinances. As of January 1, 2024, there are no local COVID-19 ordinances in effect in California. However, general local ordinances may still apply to employees with COVID-19, such as local paid sick leave ordinances.
Masking Guidance. Masking is no longer required after an employees is exposed to COVID-19 or a “close contact.” Current California Department of Public Health Guidance recommends employees wear masks if they have COVID-19 symptoms or test positive, or have been in close contact with someone with COVID-19 symptoms or who tests positive. However, local ordinances may still require masking. For example, multiple Bay Area counties instituted a health order that requires patients, staff and visitors to wear a mask in hospitals and skilled nursing facilities from November 1, 2023 through March 31, 2024. Also, in certain healthcare situations or settings and other facilities, services and operations covered by the Cal/OSHA Aerosol Transmissible Diseases (ATD) Standard, surgical masks (or higher filtration masks) are required.
Small Business COVID-19 Relief Programs. Both the California Small Business COVID-19 Relief Grant Program and the California Small Business and Nonprofit COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave Relief Grant Program were scheduled to expire on January 1, 2024, but have been extended until June 30, 2024.
With the expiration of many COVID-19 regulations, you will have more time to catch up on the new laws for 2024! Don’t miss your last chance to join us for our final Annual Employment Law Update on January 9, 2024. Click here to register.