California’s Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board Approves COVID-19 Emergency Regulation

November 23, 2020
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California’s Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board unanimously approved a COVID-19 emergency regulation for all employers with more than one employee. The regulation will have significant impacts to H-2A employee housing and transportation, testing, and paid leave compensation.

The final step to adoption is a 10-day review at the Office of Administrative Law (OAL), where the regulation may be modified and/or accepted. If it is approved by OAL (as expected), this regulation could be in effect from the first week of December through June 1, 2021, with the potential for extensions.

Some of the requirements in the new regulation include:

  • Testing- Mandatory testing for all employees at exposed workplace and follow-up testing one week after exposure. Continuous testing thereafter will be required. Testing shall be provided at no cost to the employee.
  • Paid Compensation- Mandatory paid sick leave compensation.
  • Housing- Elimination of bunk beds and a required 6-foot space between beds in all directions. Any individual exposed and quarantined must have private cooking, eating, sleeping areas and bathroom.
  • Transportation- Must have 3-foot space separation in all directions between passengers.

The California Strawberry Commission has submitted comments addressing these issues and will provide an update once the regulation has been finalized.

Link to the Standards Board COVID-19 Draft Emergency Regulation: https://link.calstrawberry.com/3g8

Contact: Mark Martinez
Email: mmartinez@calstrawberry.org

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