California Approves Modified COVID-19 Workplace Standards

The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health Administration (Cal/OSHA) recently updated its emergency temporary standards (ETS) to prevent the transmission of COVID-19, effective from May 6, 2022 to December 21, 2022.

Under the revised ETS, many regulations remain unchanged. However, there are some significant revisions that ease the burden on employers.

  • Face covering requirements are the same for all employees regardless of vaccination status (i.e., face coverings are no longer mandatory for unvaccinated workers in all indoor locations).

  • Face coverings are only mandatory when the California Department of Public Health requires their use, such as in the healthcare setting.

  • Employers are required to make free COVID-19 testing available to employees who experience symptoms during paid time, regardless of vaccination status or whether there was a known exposure.

  • COVID-19 testing must also be made available to employees who had close contact in the workplace during outbreaks.

  • All requirements related to cleaning and disinfecting no longer apply.

Consistent with California Department of Public Health guidelines, the state’s isolation and quarantine guidelines have also been updated. This means an employee who recently tested positive may return to work five days after receiving a negative test result – provided their symptoms are improving and they wear a face covering at work for an additional five days.

Overall, the updated regulations demonstrate a trend toward easing certain COVID-19 protections for workers. However, it is still vitally important for employers to comply with any new or evolving federal and state guidelines.

Get more helpful information and resources specifically related to the new emergency temporary standards for employers and workers.


Pacific Federal is a Zenith American company and subsidiary of Harbour Benefit Holdings, Inc.