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New California Requirement Relating to COVID-19 Publicity Notices at Work

In the spring of 2020, as the news of the pandemic began to spread across the nation and around the world, information governance (IG) professionals were asked to ponder the appropriate records and information their organizations were making in response would create the pandemic. What amounts could be expected? Which formats? What new series of records may be needed in your retention plans? What new dataset controls might be needed?

As expected, regulations for COVID-19-specific records have also been introduced. The most recent is courtesy of California under Labor Section 6409.6 (a) (effective January 1, 2021).

What is this rule and how long is it kept for related records?

In short, the requirement requires employers to keep a record of written communications to workers who were on the same site as an infected person during the infection period. Examples of such notifications are:

(1) Written notice to all employees and employers of subcontractors who were on the same site as an infected person on site during the infection period, including a notice through personal service, email or SMS. both in English and in the language understood by the majority of employees.

(2) Information made available to employees about COVID-19 related benefits that the exposed employees may be entitled to under any applicable federal, state or local law, including employee compensation, options for exposed employees, including COVID-19 related vacation, company sick leave, government-mandated vacation, additional sick leave or provisions on negotiated vacation, as well as protection against prevention and employee discrimination.

(3) Notices about the disinfection and safety plan that the employer intends to implement and complete in accordance with the guidelines of the Federal Center for Disease Control.

The above list speaks not only of the types of records that need to be maintained, but most importantly of accountability for employers in California. Under this regulation, California employers have specific positive responsibilities that must be documented in writing.

Also the fact that employers must be notified by subcontractors further increases the level of commitment to employers accountability by ensuring that no exposed person on a construction site, regardless of their employment status, goes without notification.

Overall, the three-year retention period is appropriate, considering that in combination with other more general retention provisions, the actual retention period for such COVID-related records should be closer to five years, as recommended recently in Access -published pandemic playbook.

What can employers do to prepare for Section 6409.6 of the California Labor Code?

Employers can prepare for the effective date of Section 6409.6 on January 1st by designating one or more people to take responsibility for establishing a compliance process. Employers should consider identifying the means by which they also inform workers of possible COVID-19 exposure in the workplace.

Employers could also list all federal, state, municipal and collective bargaining benefits to which a potentially exposed employee is entitled. They may also want to decide and consider writing down the disinfection and safety plans they are implementing in the event they receive notice that a "qualified person" may have exposed the site to COVID-19.

In order to meet the notice period of Section 6409.6 for “one working day”, employers should plan in advance by creating templates for employees, the exclusive representatives of the employees, to fill in the gaps. (i.e. unions) and subcontractors before January 1, 2021.

For more instructions and details on managing pandemic-related records, download Access & # 39; Responding to Pandemic Recordings playbook.


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