As the pandemic presents new challenges in health and the workplace, employers must take steps to protect their workers and business from COVID-19. Use the resources available here to learn about COVID-19 workplace requirements such as safety procedures, training for employees on infection prevention, and what to do in case of an infection or outbreak.
Changes to Emergency Temporary Standards
Following the June 17 vote by the Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board to adopt the revised COVID-19 Prevention Emergency Temporary Standards, Governor Gavin Newsom signed an executive order to allow the revisions to immediately take effect on June 17. The revised regulations reflect the state’s latest COVID-19 public health guidance. The updates include changes to face coverings and physical distancing requirements. More information on the revised COVID-19 Prevention Emergency Temporary Standards can be found in Cal/OSHA's Frequently Asked Questions.
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COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standards
Here are some common questions about the COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standards (ETS). More information is available on Cal/OSHA’s ETS page.
What is the status of the ETS?
The ETS took effect on November 30, 2020. On June 17, 2021, the Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board voted to adopt new revisions to the ETS. Following the vote, Governor Gavin Newsom signed an executive order to allow the revisions to take effect the same day. More information on the revised COVID-19 Prevention Emergency Temporary Standards can be found in Cal/OSHA’s Frequently Asked Questions.
Who is affected by the ETS?
The ETS applies to all employers, employees, and to all places of employment with the following exceptions:
- Work locations where there is only one employee who does not have contact with other people.
- Employees who are working from home.
- Employees who are covered by the Aerosol Transmissible Diseases regulation.
- Employees working from a location chosen by the employee, which is not under the control of the employer (for instance, an employee teleworking from a café or a friend’s home)
Learn more about the ETS scope of coverage.
Are all physical distancing requirements in the revised ETS gone?
There are no physical distancing or barrier requirements in the workplace regardless of employee vaccination status with the following exceptions:
- There is an unvaccinated employee that, for medical reasons, is not able to wear a face covering or non-restrictive alternative and other employees are not fully vaccinated or tested at least weekly.
- Employers must evaluate whether it is necessary to implement physical distancing and barriers during an outbreak (3 or more cases in an exposed group of employees)
- Employers must implement physical distancing and barriers during a major outbreak (20 or more cases in an exposed group of employees)
More information is available on Cal/OSHA’s ETS page.
Is documentation required for a fully vaccinated employee to work without a face covering indoors?
Yes. Vaccination status must be documented. The revised ETS does not specify a particular method. The employer must record the vaccination status for any employee not wearing a face covering indoors and this record must be kept confidential. The revised ETS does not specify a particular method.
Employers can require all employees wear a face covering instead of having a documentation process.
What is an employer’s obligation to provide respirators such as N95 masks?
An employer must provide respirators in two scenarios:
- To any unvaccinated employee who works with others indoors or in a vehicle and who requests one.
- Where there is a major outbreak, to any employees in the exposed group for voluntary use.
The respirator must be the right size, and the employee must receive basic instruction on how to get a good “seal,” or fit.
Who has to wear face coverings?
Face coverings are required indoors and in vehicles for unvaccinated employees. Employees in certain indoor settings must wear a face covering regardless of vaccination status if required by CDPH order. As of June 15, those indoor settings where CDPH requires face coverings include public transit, K-12 educational facilities, health care and long-term care settings, correctional and detention facilities, and shelters (homeless or emergency shelters and cooling centers).
Though face coverings are not required outdoors, employers must communicate to workers that face coverings are recommended for unvaccinated persons outdoors where six feet of physical distancing cannot be maintained. Employers must provide face coverings to unvaccinated persons and make them available to vaccinated persons upon request.
Are there requirements from the November 2020 ETS that will remain in place?
- An effective written COVID-19 Prevention Program.
- Providing effective training and instruction to employees on the employer’s prevention plan and their rights under the ETS.
- Providing notification to public health departments of outbreaks.
- Providing notification to employees of exposure and close contacts.
- Requirements to offer testing after potential exposures.
- Requirements for responding to COVID-19 cases and outbreaks.
- Quarantine and exclusion pay requirements.
- Basic prevention requirements for employer-provided housing and transportation.
Review the latest information on the revisions in Cal/OSHA’s Frequently Asked Questions.
Where can I learn more about the ETS?
Visit Cal/OSHA’s ETS page. This page contains helpful information and resources specifically related to the emergency temporary standards for employers and workers.
Training and resources
COVID-19 training for California workers
Online courses are available for workers and employers to take on-demand. Take a course to learn more about COVID-19 and preventing the spread in the workplace.
Learn from our partners
A variety of free trainings for employers, workers, and unions are being offered by the Labor Occupational Health Program at UC Berkeley.
A list of resources for workers and communities impacted by COVID-19 is provided by the UCLA Labor Occupational Safety and Health Program.
COIVD-19 resources specific to helping agricultural employers and farmworkers are available from the Western Center for Agricultural Health and Safety at UC Davis.
Who to contact
Labor Commissioner's Office
For questions on paid sick leave, retaliation protections, filing a wage claim, or retaliation complaint:
(833) LCO-INFO (833-526-4636)
To leave a tip about an employer that is not paying workers that take sick leave:
(855) LCO-SPSL (855-526-7775)
For questions on workers' compensation, call 1-800-736-7401 for recorded information on workers' compensation benefits from Information and Assistance staff 24 hours a day, or contact a local Division of Workers' Compensation office during business hours to reach a live person