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COVID-19 Employee Notice of Potential Exposure Template (As Required by AB 685 & CAL/OSHA Emergency Temporary Standards)

December 30, 2020

California employers are required to provide notification to all employees who may have been exposed to COVID-19 within the workplace. This is required by both AB 685, which takes effect January 1, 2021, and by the Cal/OSHA emergency temporary standards that were approved by the Office of Administrative Law (OAL) on November 30, 2020 and are effective immediately.

Exclusions from Notice Requirements: Employees who, as part of their duties, conduct COVID-19 testing, screening or provide direct patient care or treatment to individuals who are known to have tested positive for COVID-19 are excluded from the notice and reporting provisions of the law. However, if the qualifying individual testing positive and/or receiving medical care is an employee of the facility, the notice may be required.

AB 685: Section 6409.6 was added to the Labor Code requiring employers, upon notice of a potential exposure to COVID-19, to do the following within one business day:

  • Provide a written notice to all employees and the employers of subcontracted employees who were on the premise at the same worksite as a qualifying individual within the infectious period that they may have been exposed to COVID-19.
    • Qualifying individual is defined as any person that:
      • Tests positive for COVID-19
      • That is diagnosed with COVID-19 by a licensed health care provider
      • That is ordered to isolate by a public health official
      • That died as a result of COVID-19
    • Infectious period is defined as follows:
      • For an individual who develops symptoms, the infectious period for COVID-19 begins 2 days before they first develop symptoms. The infectious period ends when the following criteria are met: 10 days have passed since symptoms first appeared, and at least 24 hours have passed with no fever (without use of fever-reducing medications), and other symptoms have improved.
      • The infectious period for someone who tests positive, but has no COVID-19 symptoms, is two days before the specimen for his or her first COVID-19 test was collected, and it ends 10 days after the specimen for the first COVID-19 test was collected.
  • Provide a written notice to the exclusive representative, if any, of the employees notified per #1 above.
    • Information regarding COVID-19 related benefits the employee may be entitled to under federal, state or local laws, including but not limited to:
      • Workers’ compensation
      • COVID-19 related leave
      • Company provided sick leave
      • State mandated leave
      • Supplemental sick leave
      • Negotiated leave provisions
      • Anti-retaliation and anti-discrimination protections
    • The disinfection and safety plan the employer plans to implement and complete per CDC guidelines.

Cal/OSHA emergency temporary standards require employers to determine who may have had a COVID-19 exposure by identifying all locations at the workplace which may have been visited by the COVID-19 case during the high-risk exposure period. Within one business day, employers are required to give notice of potential COVID-19 exposure, without revealing personal identifying information of the COVID-19 case, to all employees, independent contractors and other employers present at the workplace who may have had COVID-19 exposure.

  • A COVID-19 case is defined as a person who:
    • Has tested positive for COVID-19
    • Is subject to a COVID-19 related order to isolate by a local or state health official
    • Has died due to COVID-19
  • High-risk exposure period is defined as the following time period:
    • For a person who develops COVID-19 symptoms: from two days before they first develop symptoms until 10 days after symptoms first appeared, and 24 hours have passed with no fever, without the use of fever-reducing medication and symptoms have improved; or
    • For a person who tests positive and never develops COVID-19 symptoms: from two days before until ten days after the specimen for their first positive test for COVID-19 was collected.

The Cal/OSHA emergency temporary standards also require employers to provide information to employees regarding access to COVID-19 testing in the event of a workplace outbreak, as well as, return to work criteria.

Michael Sullivan & Associates has created a template Employee Notification Letter that can be obtained here. With permission from Michael Sullivan & Associates, Keenan has expanded upon their Employee Notification Letter to include information required by the Cal/OSHA emergency temporary standards. A copy of this template letter can be found here.

If you have any questions regarding the information contained in this Briefing, please feel free to contact your Risk Management Analyst or Loss Control Consultant.

Keenan & Associates is not a law firm and no opinion, suggestion, or recommendation of the firm or its employees shall constitute legal advice. Clients are advised to consult with their own attorney for a determination of their legal rights, responsibilities and liabilities, including the interpretation of any statute or regulation, or its application to the clients’ business activities.