BREAKING NEWS Full U.S. Senate will vote on Judge Amy Coney's Supreme Court confirmation on Monday Full Story
BREAKING NEWS Extreme fire weather concerns for Northern California Sunday and Monday Full Story
BREAKING NEWS Point Fire is burning in Cottonwood on Gas Point Road Full Story
BREAKING NEWS Cal OES positions extra firefighting resources in Tehama and Colusa counties Full Story
BREAKING NEWS Latest from PG&E on potential PSPS power outages, possibly starting Sunday morning Full Story
SEVERE WX : Freeze Warning View Alerts

California governor signs laws to protect workers from virus

California companies must warn their workers of any potential exposure to the coronavirus and must pay their employees workers compensation benefits if they get sick with the disease under two laws that Gov. Gavin Newsom signed Thursday.

Posted: Sep 18, 2020 9:14 AM

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California companies must warn their workers of any potential exposure to the coronavirus and must pay their employees workers compensation benefits if they get sick with the disease under two laws that Gov. Gavin Newsom signed Thursday.

Newsom, a Democrat, signed the laws over the objections of business groups, who have said they are “unworkable.”

One of the laws makes people who have the coronavirus eligible for workers compensation benefits. It takes effect immediately and applies to all workers in the state, but it treats first responders and health care workers differently than other employees.

Police officers, firefighters and health care workers — including janitors who are in contact with COVID-19 patients — are eligible if they get infected while on the job.

All other workers are eligible only if their workplaces experience an outbreak. For companies with between five and 100 employees, the law defines an outbreak as four or more infected workers who work at the same location within a two-week period.

For companies with more than 100 employees, outbreaks are defined as at least 4% of workers working in the same location being infected during a two week period.

The rules for first responders and health care workers are permanent. The rules for everyone else expire on Jan. 1, 2023.

Workers don’t have to prove they were infected on the job to get benefits because the law assumes they got it while working. Instead, employers must prove that their workers did not get the virus while on the job to deny coverage.

In a letter to the state Legislature last month, business groups said they supported that for first responders and other groups at high risk of contracting the disease. But they said it wasn’t fair to do that for other occupations with a lower risk of infection. They called the law “unworkable for employers.”

Newsom signed the law, authored by Democratic state Sen. Jerry Hill, during a Zoom call with supporters, including labor union leaders and members.

Monique Hernandez, a nurse, said nine of her fellow nurses were infected, though she works in an area called a “clean unit” where she does not have contact with coronavirus patients.

“There is no such thing as a clean unit when it comes to COVID-19,” she said. “I took that very personal.”

The second law that Newsom signed mandates that companies tell employees if they have been exposed to someone who has either tested positive, been ordered to isolate or died because of the virus. That law, authored by Democratic Assemblywoman Eloise Gomez Reyes, takes effect Jan. 1.

Companies must do so within one business day of learning of the exposures or they can face fines issued by the Division of Occupational Safety and Health.

Business groups, including the California Chamber of Commerce, opposed the bill because they said the law is vague and will be difficult for businesses to comply with, resulting in “good employers” facing hefty fines.

Newsom countered that the two laws “prioritize our workforce,” including front line workers he said politicians “pay a lot of lip service to, but often we don’t back up.”

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 903684

Reported Deaths: 17343
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Los Angeles2989376989
Riverside657571279
San Bernardino623531072
Orange583261444
San Diego54314868
Kern33775416
Fresno30590436
Sacramento25264484
Santa Clara24014388
Alameda23215460
San Joaquin21630489
Contra Costa18523241
Stanislaus17572396
Tulare17495286
Ventura14192164
Imperial12700336
San Francisco12069140
Monterey1132189
San Mateo11075159
Santa Barbara9760120
Merced9465155
Sonoma9163134
Kings821883
Solano728674
Marin7057128
Madera498174
San Luis Obispo414132
Placer408857
Yolo316658
Butte305952
Santa Cruz277125
Napa194215
Shasta184630
Sutter183712
San Benito143615
El Dorado13154
Yuba129310
Mendocino112421
Tehama8628
Lassen7661
Lake68915
Glenn6573
Nevada6088
Humboldt5629
Colusa5506
Calaveras34218
Amador32416
Tuolumne2684
Inyo22715
Siskiyou1930
Del Norte1781
Mono1782
Mariposa782
Plumas680
Modoc290
Trinity260
Sierra60
Alpine30
Unassigned00
Chico
Clear
64° wxIcon
Hi: 70° Lo: 42°
Feels Like: 64°
Oroville
66° wxIcon
Hi: 72° Lo: 44°
Feels Like: 66°
Paradise
Clear
64° wxIcon
Hi: 65° Lo: 42°
Feels Like: 64°
Chester
Clear
36° wxIcon
Hi: 47° Lo: 26°
Feels Like: 28°
Red Bluff
Clear
64° wxIcon
Hi: 68° Lo: 48°
Feels Like: 64°
Willows
Clear
64° wxIcon
Hi: 67° Lo: 47°
Feels Like: 64°
Fire danger will be extreme Sunday-Monday as the biggest dry wind event of the season takes shape. A widespread freeze in the Sierra-Cascades as low as single-digit values possible Sunday night. Mild & sunny weather after Tuesday.
KHSL Severe
KHSL Radar
KHSL Temperatures

Community Events