HR Magazine interviewed Haynes and Boone, LLP Associate Mini Kapoor about new COVID-19 safety protocols for California workers.
Here is an excerpt:
California state employees, health care workers and workers in high-risk settings must show proof of vaccination or adhere to weekly COVID-19 testing and other safety protocols, Gov. Gavin Newsom recently announced.
Newsom issued this directive after the state saw a surge in new COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths.
… Mini Kapoor, an attorney with Haynes and Boone in Houston, said the order essentially requires covered employers to take the following steps:
- Track and verify employee vaccination status.
- Establish testing requirements for employees who are not fully vaccinated.
- Comply with current masking guidance from the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), which requires mask-wearing for everyone in health care and other high-risk settings and recommends that unvaccinated people in high-risk settings use respirators if they aren't otherwise required to do so under state law. The CDPH also updated its recommendations for fully vaccinated people to resume wearing masks in public indoor settings.
Covered businesses must fully comply with the order by Aug. 23. Kapoor said employers should revise their COVID-19 written plans and safety policies, train employees on the new policies and ensure that adequate supplies are available to meet the mask requirements.
Kapoor noted that Newsom's order isn't clear about whether employers must pay for COVID-19 testing for unvaccinated employees. Employers may consider offering free testing or provide employees information about local sites that offer free testing, she said.
"If not already doing so, employers should impose mask requirements on visitors, customers, vendors and contractors, and follow the current state masking and respirator guidance," she added.
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