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Legislative News

Articles for tag COVID-19


Vaccine Mandates: Ordered for Health Care Facilities; Under Review by Federal Court for CDCR Institutional Settings

Posted: 8/11/2021 Tags: COVID-19 policy representation Tags Views: 755

ACSS has been informed of two recent developments concerning COVID-19 vaccination mandates for employees in “health care facilities” and employees at CDCR institutions.

Emergency Order Requiring Vaccinations in Health Care Settings

On August 5, 2021, the California State Public Health Officer ordered mandatory vaccinations for employees in all “health care facilities” in the state by September 30, 2021. ACSS has requested information from CalHR clarifying the scope of this order as applied to excluded employees. ACSS has also requested information from CalHR regarding the expected employment status of any employee who does not establish proof of vaccination or receive an exception for religious beliefs or a qualified medical exemption by the September 30 deadline.

Court Considers Mandatory Vaccinations for CDCR Employees

On August 9, 2021, a U.S. District Judge ordered briefing over whether COVID-19 vaccinations should be mandatory for CDCR institutional staff. The underlying lawsuit involves medical care in state prisons. The Federal Receiver overseeing medical care in state prisons recommended to the court “that access by workers to CDCR institutions be limited to those workers who establish proof of vaccination (or have established a religious or medical exception to vaccination).” The court has asked the parties whether they agree or disagree with the public health conclusions supporting the Receiver’s recommendation.

There is also some uncertainty over which CDCR employees are covered by the August 5th order of the State Public Health Officer saying that all workers in “health care facilities” must be vaccinated. The court has asked the parties to weigh-in on whether the August 5th order applies to some or all of CDCR’s employees. The matter is tentatively set for a hearing on September 16, 2021.

As additional information is received from CalHR and the courts regarding mandatory vaccination orders, ACSS will continue to evaluate the orders and exception process to ensure the interests of supervisors and managers are protected.

If you have questions about vaccine mandates, contact your ACSS Labor Relations Representative.


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Update on CalHR Vaccine Verification and COVID-19 Testing Direction to State Agencies

Posted: 8/4/2021 Tags: COVID-19 policy representation Tags Views: 1068

On July 26, 2021, the California Department of Human Resources (CalHR) announced a policy requiring state departments to have a process for vaccine verification and requiring mandatory COVID-19 testing of unvaccinated employees working on site. On August 3, CalHR Director Eraina Ortega provided a vaccine verification and testing update.

CalHR and the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) are developing a testing program that will be implemented first in four departments - CHP, CalFire, Caltrans and DMV. CalHR and CDPH will meet with those departments later this week. Following the implementation in those departments, CalHR will create the “playbook” for state departments to expand the testing program to all departments. Based on that schedule, it may take some time for testing to be done in all state departments.

CDPH has developed a draft “Antigen Testing Playbook” which is expected to form the basis for the state employee testing process. As the testing protocols are developed for state departments, ACSS will review the testing process (e.g., self-collecting swabs, test results, next steps related to positive tests, data collection) to protect the interest of members. Testing roles and responsibilities and are likely to differ based on the size of departments or worksites.

State departments will receive instructions for reporting both the percentage of employees who have verified their vaccine status and how many employees working on-site are anticipated to be tested at least weekly. Employees without a vaccine verification who telework full time will not be required to test unless they come into the office.

CalHR has confirmed to ACSS that as testing protocols are developed, departments will provide notice to ACSS and an opportunity to meet and confer over the impact to ensure the interests of supervisors and managers are protected.

If you have questions about vaccine verifications or the testing requirements, contact your ACSS Labor Relations Representative.


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CalHR Issues Face Covering Direction to State Agencies

Posted: 6/22/2021 Tags: COVID-19 policy representation Tags Views: 1153

On June 21, 2021, California Department of Human Resources (CalHR) Director Eraina Ortega provided updated requirements for the use of face coverings to state departments. The CalHR direction follows June 17, 2021 amendments to the California Occupational Safety and Health Board regulations.

Face coverings are not required for fully vaccinated individuals except in certain settings including correctional facilities, health care settings, school and childcare settings and public transit.

Face coverings are required for unvaccinated individuals in state offices, with exceptions for employees who cannot wear a face covering due to a medical condition or disability, employees who are hearing impaired where the ability to see the mouth is essential to communication, or wearing a face covering creates a workplace safety guideline risk. Face coverings are limited to surgical masks, medical procedure masks, a respirator, or at least two layers of tightly woven or non-woven material. Scarfs, bandanas, and single layers of fabric are excluded.

Upon request, departments must provide unvaccinated employees with an N95 respirator. Departments are directed to establish a procedure to provide N95 coverings to employees requesting one.

Documenting Vaccination Status

“Fully vaccinated” means the employer has documented the employee has received, at least 14-days prior, the second dose of a two-dose vaccine or a single dose vaccine.

Departments are directed to implement a procedure where employees can self-attest to their vaccination status. No verification is required and the voluntary attestation record will not reside in an employee’s personnel file. No medical information should be revealed and departments should not ask questions of employees who choose not to provide vaccine status information.

Departments are directed to update policies on workplace bullying/violence to address issues such as commenting about mask/non-mask wearers or not respecting a request for social distance.

As departmental policies are developed, ACSS will meet-and-confer where appropriate to ensure the interests of supervisors and managers are protected. If you have questions about face covering policies, contact your ACSS Labor Relations Representative.

The CalHR direction can be read here.


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CalHR Issues Telework Update to State Agencies

Posted: 4/7/2021 Tags: COVID-19 legislation policy representation Tags Views: 2391

On April 6, 2021 California Department of Human Resources (CalHR) Director Eraina Ortega provided a telework update to state departments. Director Ortgea confirmed the Administration’s direction is to continue keeping eligible employees on telework schedules and that the emergency telework policy remains in effect. Within that framework, each department is directed to assess the appropriate level of telework that it will maintain, based on operational needs and employee safety.

Director Ortega’s message noted the Administration continues to support telework as a long-term strategy to decrease office space, allow flexibility for employees, and provide resiliency in the case of future emergencies. Departments are encouraged to think about work culture for the near future including hybrid workplaces, hoteling strategies, and ways to improve communications and collaboration. Departments are also encouraged to get feedback from employees on their telework experiences to help make decisions going forward.

Telework remains a prominent topic of decisions in ACSS’ meetings with CalHR. Director Ortega has informed ACSS that CalHR plans to introduce more telework training in the near future for supervisors and managers.

The state is continuing their effort to update the statewide Telework Policy. It is anticipated that once the statewide policy is finalized, that individual departments will adopt their own telework policies. ACSS has been involved with CalHR throughout discussions in regards to this topic. ACSS will continue to meet with the state over proposed departmental telework policies to protect the interests of excluded employees.

If you have questions about telework, please contact your ACSS Labor Relations Representative.


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CalHR Implements COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave for 2021

Posted: 4/2/2021 Tags: benefits COVID-19 policy Tags Views: 1253

The Department of Human Resources (CalHR) has issued a policy implementing Senate Bill 95 which provides up to 80 hours of COVID-19 related supplemental paid sick leave to all employees retroactive to January 1, 2021. This supplemental sick leave (SB 95 SPSL) is available to employees who are unable to work or telework for any of the following reasons:

  1. The employee is subject to a Federal, State, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19 as defined by an order or guidelines of the State Department of Public Health, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or a local health officer who has jurisdiction over the workplace; or
  2. The employee is advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine or self-isolate due to concerns related to COVID-19; or
  3. The employee is attending an appointment to receive a COVID-19 vaccine; or
  4. The employee is experiencing symptoms related to receiving the COVID-19 vaccine that prevent the employee from being able to work or telework; or
  5. The employee is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and is seeking a medical diagnosis; or
  6. The employee is caring for a family member as defined in the California Labor Code, section 245.5 subdivision (c), who is subject to an order or guidelines under number 1 or 2; or
  7. The employee is caring for a child as defined in the California Labor Code, section 245.5, subdivision (c), whose school or place of care is closed or otherwise unavailable for reasons related to COVID-19 on the premises.

Departments cannot require an employee to use other leave before SB 95 SPSL. If the request is retroactive, an amended timesheet will be required. Substantiation is required for school or child care closures. Departments are expected to issue directions to document SB 95 SPSL as “ATO” on timesheets.

The supplemental leave expires September 30, 2021, except that a covered employee taking SB 95 SPSL at the time of expiration can take the full amount to which they would be entitled.

If you have questions or need assistance with SB 95 SPSL issues, please contact your ACSS Labor Relations Representative.


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