On December 31, 2022, Cal/OSHA’s COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standards (ETS) finally sunset. However, the Standards Board has been working to pass a permanent standard to ensure it is in place before the expiration of the ETS. The Board has announced it will be voting on the permanent standard at its upcoming meeting on December 15th.

Of note, while it is called a permanent standard, the proposed standard includes a two-year sunset, consistent with the recognition that COVID-19 is now moving into its endemic phase.

As employers prepare for a permanent standard here are some of the highlights of what will stay the same and change from the ETS.

Changes from ETS

  • End of Exclusion Pay.  One of the biggest changes in the permanent standard is that exclusion pay will no longer be required to compensate employees who miss work due to an employer-caused COVID-19 exposure.
  • Modified Masking Requirements. Certain mask requirements have been removed from the permanent standard. The definition of an “exposed group” still contains a “momentary pass-through” exception. This exception is being broadened to include individuals who are not masked. As re-defined, the momentary pass-through exception applies to a place where persons momentarily pass through without congregating, provided that it is not a work location, working area, or a common area at work.
  • Reduced Reporting Requirements. Employers will no longer be required to report outbreaks to the local health department under the permanent standard. Moreover, a COVID-19 outbreak can be deemed over when “one or fewer” new cases are detected in the exposed group for a 14-day period. An investigation, review, and correction of hazards following an outbreak no longer will be required to be “immediate” following an outbreak.

Continuation from ETS

  • Recordkeeping Requirements.  Employers will still be required to maintain records of workers’ infections, but they will not need to maintain records of employees deemed a close contact.
  • Updated Definition of “Close Contact.”  The definition of “close contact,” which is important for purposes of notice, also continues to be linked to the California Department of Public Health definition.

Jackson Lewis will continue to track COVID-19 regulations and requirements into the endemic phase. If you have questions about the Cal/OSHA COVID-19 Standards or related workplace safety issues, please reach out to the Jackson Lewis attorney with whom you often work or any member of our Workplace Safety and Health Team.

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Photo of Jenifer M. Bologna Jenifer M. Bologna

Jenifer Bologna is a principal in the White Plains, New York, office of Jackson Lewis P.C.

Photo of Sean Paisan Sean Paisan

Sean Paisan is of counsel in the Orange County, California, office of Jackson Lewis P.C. He is the leader of the firm’s Cal/OSHA practice subgroup and co-leader of the firm’s Construction industry group. His practice focuses on assisting employers with Cal/OSHA compliance, investigations…

Sean Paisan is of counsel in the Orange County, California, office of Jackson Lewis P.C. He is the leader of the firm’s Cal/OSHA practice subgroup and co-leader of the firm’s Construction industry group. His practice focuses on assisting employers with Cal/OSHA compliance, investigations, and fighting citations. Additionally, Sean also assists employers in data privacy and traditional employment matters, including litigation and counseling.

Sean’s first exposure to OSHA regulations occurred during his undergraduate studies while working for a construction company that helped build Disney’s California Adventure. After attending law school and working for the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office and the United States Attorney’s Office, Sean moved into private practice, where he focused on general liability matters, including serious injuries and fatalities. Through this experience, Sean became very knowledgeable on the myriad of Cal/OSHA regulations imposed on businesses, especially in the construction, manufacturing, and healthcare industries, and the consequences for violations of those regulations. From there, Sean became OSHA 30 certified and began assisting employers with all workplace safety matters, from compliance, to investigations and inspections, to the appeals of citations in California, Arizona, Washington, and Hawaii.

Throughout his career, Sean has been called upon to try cases that cannot be settled. He has handled trials in the United States District Court, California Superior Court, Cal/OSHA Appeals Board, Workers Compensation Appeals Board, and the US Department of Labor OALJ, as well as binding arbitrations. Sean has tried cases involving the following subjects: general employment, wrongful death, premises liability, unfair competition (B&P § 17200), false advertising (Lanham Act), misappropriation of trade secret, restrictive covenants, and whistleblower (AIR21).

In addition to his trial experience, he is routinely called on to assist his clients with workplace crises such as catastrophic injuries, fatalities, data breaches, and ransomware incidents. Drawing on his years of in both civil and criminal law, Sean’s unique background allows him to anticipate and proactively manage issues, rather than simply reacting to requests and inquiries by investigating agencies such as law enforcement, OSHA, Cal/OSHA, California Bureau of Investigations (BOI), Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), as well as opposing counsel in litigation matters.

In addition to his litigation experience, Sean has earned the CIPP/US credential through the International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP). He helps organizations manage rapidly evolving privacy threats and mitigate the potential loss and misuse of information assets. He has an in-depth understanding of how privacy laws can impact business operations. These laws include the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), Federal Trade Commission Act (FTC Act), Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH), Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA), Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLBA), Fair and Accurate Credit Transaction Act (FACTA), Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, California Financial Information Privacy Act, Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), Telemarketing Sales Rule, Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), Junk Fax Prevention Act, Controlling Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act (CAN-SPAM), Cable Communications Policy Act, Video Privacy Protection Act, Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), California Online Privacy Protection Act (CalOPPA), California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), and California Privacy Rights Act (CPRA). With respect to laws affecting the ability of the government to obtain information, Sean can assist employers in understanding their obligations under the Federal Wiretap Act, Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA), Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA), Right to Financial Privacy Act, Privacy Protection Act, Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), and USA PATRIOT Act.

Before becoming an attorney, Sean earned his bachelor’s degree in accounting from the University of Southern California, where he also played varsity ice hockey in the ACHA. When not practicing law, Sean enjoys spending time with his wife and three young children, playing adult league ice hockey, mountain biking, and motorsports.