31 December 2020
As 2020 comes to a close, many employers have questions about a number of new laws which are about to come into effect. In the article below, JMBM’s Labor and Employment Group have summarized recent changes to labor regulations and provided a snapshot of what to expect in the new year.
Labor & Employment New Year Round-Up
What to Expect in 2021
Several new pieces of California legislation have either recently gone into effect or will take effect on January 1, 2021, impacting nearly all employers and how they handle COVID-19 related issues, leaves of absence, workers’ classification, discrimination disputes, arbitration agreements, union relations, and other miscellaneous issues.
The start of a new presidential administration also brings potential changes to labor regulations; find out what we’ll be watching for, below.
Our round-up will help you determine which key issues may impact you in 2021; contact us to be sure you’re ready for all these upcoming changes. Click the ‘read more’ link for each topic to see a comprehensive summary.
New COVID-19 Reporting Obligations
AB 685 adds to California’s growing list of COVID-19 health and safety related laws, imposing additional reporting obligations on employers and expanding Cal/OSHA’s authority to issue shutdown orders for workplaces that pose a risk of an “imminent hazard” relating to COVID-19.
What this means for employers: Employers should update their written COVID protocols for employees, and prepare template notices that include the information required under the new law.
COVID-19 Workers’ Compensation Presumption
SB 1159 creates a disputable workers’ compensation presumption that illness or death related to COVID-19 is an occupational injury and therefore eligible for benefits.
What this means for employers: The presumption is disputable, meaning that employers have an opportunity to refute the presumption by providing evidence to indicate that an employee did not contract COVID-19 at the workplace. Employers should ensure that they implement adequate measures to reduce potential transmission of COVID-19 in the workplace and that these measures are well documented.
Temporary Cal/OSHA “COVID-19 Prevention Rule”
California’s Office of Administrative Law approved Cal/OSHA’s emergency COVID-19 Prevention Rule, which will remain in effect through at least October 2, 2021. One of the key provisions of the new rule requires California employers to establish and implement a written prevention program tailored toward preventing the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace.
What this means for employers: This rule is expansive and imposes a number of significant burdens on employers. Employers should consult with counsel upon reviewing each of the Rule’s mandates to ensure compliance.