Companies in it will not be forced to pay employees who caught the coronavirus while on the job under a new rule passed 6-1 by the California Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board.
The board voted on Thursday to end the rule in 2023 partially because it has become harder to enforce. With the previous rule, the employees who caught the virus while at work were eligible to keep getting paid. As COVID became so widespread, it became harder to tell where a person got sick.
The new rules will take effect next year after legal review and will last through 2024 because they are temporary regulations put in place in response to the pandemic.
“We are now going to be telling workers they must be excluded from work if they are sick from workplace exposure, but we are not requiring they will be paid. We all know this will lead to people needing to work while sick,” board member Laura Stock said. “I really want to ensure that we won’t make this mistake again.”
But until Dec.31, workers in California and be able to claim up to 80 hours of paid leave under the 2022 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave. After this rule expires, workers will have to use existing sick time and other benefits.
Workers who do not have sick leave can file for worker’s compensation benefits if they have to miss time because of the coronavirus.
Despite the change in rules about COVID-19 worker's compensation, other COVID-19 regulations have stayed the same regarding ventilation, testing, and how to handle outbreaks. Companies are still required to notify employees if they have been exposed to the virus while at work, and they have to make free coronavirus tests available to workers who have come in close contact with someone else on the job who has been infected.
Gov. Gavin Newsom said he will end the COVID-19 State of Emergency on February 28, 2023.