California’s COVID-19 state of emergency is over

But two employment laws related to COVID-19 are still in place

California’s COVID-19 state of emergency is over

After nearly three years, California’s COVID-19 state of emergency has finally expired.

“Throughout the pandemic, we’ve been guided by the science and data – moving quickly and strategically to save lives,” said Gov. Gavin Newsom.

“The State of Emergency was an effective and necessary tool that we utilized to protect our state, and we wouldn’t have gotten to this point without it. With the operational preparedness that we’ve built up and the measures that we’ll continue to employ moving forward, California is ready to phase out this tool.”

Although most of the state’s restrictions had been dropped last year, a couple bills relating to COVID-19 have been modified and extended until January 1, 2024.

Assembly Bill 2693 extends California’s employee exposure notice requirements. Basically, California employers now have the option to post a notice of potential COVID-19 exposure at the workplace (for 15 days) rather than providing a written notice to individual employees. Plus, California employers will no longer have to notify their local public health agency in the event of a COVID-19 outbreak.

Assembly Bill 1751 extends California’s presumption of COVID-19 as a worker’s compensation injury. Under this provision, employees who test positive during a COVID-19 “outbreak” at work are presumed to have suffered an occupational injury, making them eligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits.

For employers with 100 or fewer employees, an outbreak is defined as four employees testing positive for COVID-19 within 14 calendar day. For employers with more than 100 employees, an outbreak is defined as 4% of the employees reporting to the place of employment testing positive within 14 calendar days.

The presumption may be denied controverted by “evidence of measures in place to reduce potential transmission of COVID-19 in the employee’s place of employment and evidence of an employee’s nonoccupational risks of COVID-19 infection.”

The state of emergency, which was issued on March 4, 2020, gave Newsom the legal authority to decide state regulations and suspend state statutes. Furthermore, Newsom issued the first statewide stay-at-home order in the United States on March 19, 2020.

Last month, the California Department of Public Health reported that the state reached more than 100,000 deaths related to COVID-19.

President Joe Biden has announced the federal government will end its own version of the state of emergency on May 11.

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