Governor Newsom Signs Employment Bills
Wednesday, October 21, 2020
- Governor Signs New Paid Family Leave Law
(News Express: Bulletin 20/21-21 | September 18, 2020)
Governor Newsom signed Senate Bill 1383 (Jackson), expanding the California Family Rights Act
to make it an unlawful employment practice for any employer with five or more employees to
refuse to grant a request by an employee to take up to 12 workweeks of unpaid protected leave
during any (see CLTA News Express - Governor Signs New Paid Family Leave Law)
- COVID-19 Notice to Employees
Governor Newsom signed Assembly Bill 685 (Reyes) that creates guidelines for what an employer
must do when the employer is informed that someone at the worksite has tested positive or been
diagnosed with Covid-19. The new law allows one business day to notify workers and employers of
subcontracted employees who were on the premises with the person who has Covid-19. That notice
must tell workers what type of COVID-19 benefits they may be eligible for under federal, state
or local laws, including workers compensation and sick leave for which they may be eligible.
The notice must also state the disinfection and safety plan for the worksite that the employer
plans to implement and complete per the guidelines of the Centers for Disease Control.
If three workers test positive within 14 days, which is the Public Health definition of an outbreak,
the employer must report to local public health department the names, number, occupation and
worksite of the employees along with the business address and NAICS code of the worksite.
- Governor Signs Bill on COVID-19 Workers Compensation Presumptions
Governor Newsom signed Senate Bill 1159 (Hill) that codifies his executive order creating
rebuttable presumptions that an illness or death related to COVID-19 is an occupational injury
eligible for workers compensation benefits. As an urgency bill it became effective immediately upon
signing by the Governor on September 17. All the presumptions established by the new law
apply if the employee has tested positive for COVID-19 within 14 days after a day that the
employee performed labor or services at the employer’s place of employment at the employer’s
The new law establishes a rebuttable presumption that a peace officer, firefighter, specified
frontline employees, and certain health care employees, who contracted COVID-19 and performed
services on and after July 6, were infected with the virus via a workplace exposure.
The new law also establishes a rebuttable presumption of compensability for employees who
contract COVID-19 and performed services on and after July 6, from any employer of more than
5 employees that experiences an "outbreak" of COVID-19 cases at a particular work location.
The law defines an outbreak differently based on whether an employer has fewer or more than
Employees generally are granted a rebuttable presumption under the new law that an illness
or death from the virus was employment related if the employee performed services between
March 19 and July 5 and tested positive within 14 days after a day that the employee performed