The final word: Governor Newsom has decided which of these 2020 bills will be California law
Through Jackie botts
WHAT THE BILL DOES
AB 685 would require employers to notify their employees of potential exposures to COVID-19 in the workplace. It also requires them to alert their local health department to outbreaks, defined as three or more positive cases within 14 days. Finally, it strengthens the power of Cal / OSHA, the state agency responsible for regulating workplace safety, enforcing those rules, and even shutting down any work sites deemed to be “imminent danger” to employees because of the risk. COVID.
WHO SUPPORTS HIM?
The California Labor Federation, which represents more than 1,200 unions in the manufacturing, retail, construction and hospitality industries, among others. Other groups include labor rights advocates like California Rural Legal Assistance, the Latino Coalition for A Healthy California, and professional associations like California Professional Firefighters.
WHO IS OPPOSING?
The California Chamber of Commerce is a long list of industry lobbies representing employers in agriculture, hospitality, and construction, among others. These include the California Building Industry Association, California Association of Winegrape Growers, California Hotel & Lodging Association, Western Growers Association, to name a few.
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT
Currently, the state simply advise employers to notify workers and their local health agency of suspected outbreaks. But massive outbreaks in the workplace – ranging guest farm workers living in overcrowded hotel rooms at chicken processing facilities at pistachio plants – revealed that employers often do not follow these guidelines. Counties vary widely to find out if and how they track outbreaks among employers.
If enacted, it would create a state-wide enforceable standard on how employers deal with outbreaks as of January 1, 2021. Despite this, a number of its provisions were removed last week to get the necessary votes: among them, a requirement that the state publish all ongoing outbreaks in the workplace, a $ 10,000 fine, and a presumption that employers retaliate if they fire an employee who fell ill or requested a COVID test, for example.
The governor signed the invoice on September 17, stating that it is important to put “our workforce, our workers, our essential front-line workforce to which we give a lot of compliments, but often don’t support “.