Cal/OSHA Releases FAQ Answering COVID-19 Questions for the Workplace
Vaccinated employees in California can come to work even if they’re exposed to someone with the disease.
- By Shereen Hashem
- May 14, 2021
Cal/OSHA issued a highly anticipated FAQ allowing employers to clearly know whether or not they can exclude fully vaccinated people from the workplace if they were exposed to someone with COVID-19.
Prior to the FAQ released, fully vaccinated employees in California were required to stay home from work if exposed to a person with the disease under Cal/OSHA’s Emergency Temporary Standards (ETS) but not under the U.S. CDC guidance. According to an article, the conflict was challenging for employers because businesses lost workers whose risk of transmission of COVID-19 was incredibly low, according to the CDC. These exclusion requirements left implications with paid leave obligations under SB 95, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) and ETS.
At first, it was unclear whether or not California Governor Gavin Newsom’s Executive Order N-84-20 was intended to apply to prospective guidance by the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) since it discusses quarantine for those who are fully vaccinated. As long as the employee is asymptomatic that came into contact with someone with COVID-19, he/she is able to come to work.
Employers should be mindful that the newly issued FAQs hardly apply to quarantine periods as expressed in the ETS. While the CDC and CDPH have stated that fully vaccinated people can be indoors without masks or social distancing, testing requirements will remain the same.
Shereen Hashem is the Associate Content Editor for Occupational Health & Safety magazine.