March 13, 2022
California COVID-19 Workplace Standards Updated for Vaccinated Employees
California employers may now allow fully vaccinated employees not to wear face coverings indoors but must document their vaccination status. The Cal/OSHA Standards Board voted 5-1 to approve the revised COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standards (“ETS”) and, became effective on June 18, 2021. Consistent with prior COVID-19 related regulations, the amended standards pose additional responsibilities on employers, considering that not all employees are vaccinated.
Learn more on the recommended changes employers should implement immediately here.
Senate Bill 93 Imposes a Statewide ‘Right of Recall’ as the California Economy Re-opens
All California employers should be aware of the obligations and implications of SB 93 signed into law by Governor Gavin Newson. SB 93, codified as Labor Code Section 2810.8, creates a preference system for re-employment and/or recall efforts as the state moves toward full reopening. Specifically, the bill requires covered employers to make written job offers to covered employees whom they laid off due to the COVID-19 pandemic before extending an offer to a new hire.
Read more on the bill here.
The Pervasiveness of COVID-19 Limits the Employer’s Duty to Provide a Safe Work Environment to Employees Only
On May 10, 2021, U.S. District Judge Maxine M. Chesney dismissed an amended suit brought by a spouse seeking to hold her husband’s employer liable for her COVID-19 infection. The lawsuit reflects the potential for a shift in litigation that may ensue as employees attempt to place liability for family members contracting COVID-19 on their employers. California employers and their insurance carriers should prepare for these and similar workplace related to COVID-19.
Learn more on this case and its impact here.
California Appeals Court Finds No Wage Statement Violation in Combining Non-Overtime and Overtime Hours on Paystubs
A Fourth Appellate District panel ruled that government contractor General Atomics’ wage statements did not violate California labor law because the statements showed the applicable hourly rates in effect and the corresponding number of hours worked at each rate, despite combining non-overtime and overtime hours. The panel added that because the wage statements show both the applicable hourly rates and the total number of hours worked at each, the subject wage statements do not run afoul of California labor law. This outcome, while deemed a “win” for General Atomics’ and employers alike, highlights the nuanced requirements that must be considered and adhered to in California’s dynamic and complex wage-and-hour system. Learn more here.
The New Rules Governing Payment for Medical-Legal Evaluations
On April 1, 2021, new rules took effect governing medical-legal evaluations, which results in a significant increase in the cost of the evaluations, testimony, sub-rosa reviews, and record review: Title 8, California Code of Regulations §§ 9793, 9794, & 9795. The new rules governing the Medical-Legal Fee Schedule resulted in an increase in the cost of PQME and AME evaluations. In addition, there is a required declaration and attestation which must be completed and included with each evaluation. Learn more on how to comply with the requirements here.
The Trucking Industry Cannot Outdrive the ABC Test
Motor carriers are now subject to California’s heightened legal standard for classifying workers as independent contractors. Employers in the motor carrier and trucking industry can expect that litigation over this issue will follow. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals void of a prior district court injunction that shielded motor carriers and owner-operators from A.B. 5 is what lead to this result. Read here to learn more.
In Case You Missed It: The Webinar Corner
The New Hybrid Employee: How the ‘Coming and Going’ Rule May Be Impacted
How do you minimize work injuries for remote employees? How do you respond if an injury occurs? These questions were answered in a California Self-Insurers Association webinar presented by PBW Partner Yvonne Lang, Senior Employment Counsel Corinne Spencer and Vice President of Big 5 Corporation, Karen Nash. The panel also provided tools to deal with the continuing hybrid models of employees working from home and from the office.
Listen to the webinar here.
Supplemental Paid Sick Leave: What You Need to Know
California employers face a host of federal obligations regarding paid sick leave. Senior Employment Counsel Corinne Spencer, Partner Yvonne Lang and Attorney Antwoin Wall highlight the areas all employers need to know:
- California’s SB 95, the American Rescue Plan Act, and retroactive pay
- Temporary disability benefits v. Supplement Paid Sick Leave
- Quarantine pay and exclusion pay.
Listen to the webinar here.
The First Comprehensive COVID-19 Case Law Update
COVID-19 created a tsunami of case law that affects procedural issues related to remote hearings before WCAB, temporary disability, workers’ compensation exclusion remedy and telehealth medical evaluations. Listen to Managing Partner Barry Pearlman, Partner Yvonne Lang and Attorney Ray Correio present the first webinar on COVID-19 case law covering the latest cases.
Listen to the webinar here.
PB&W Gives Back
Ending Homelessness: Mercy House at the Living With Heart 2021 Gala
Mercy House’s Living With Heart 2021 Gala in California raised money to end homelessness, with a live and silent auction. PB&W staff attended the Gala in support of the fundraiser and is proud of its longstanding relationship with Mercy House.