Home>Articles>Cal/OSHA Votes To End COVID-19 Sick Pay Rules At End Of Year

Lockdown. (Photo: Rido/Shutterstock)

Cal/OSHA Votes To End COVID-19 Sick Pay Rules At End Of Year

‘We are now going to be telling workers they must be excluded from work if they are sick from workplace exposure but not requiring they will be paid

By Evan Symon, December 16, 2022 2:30 am

The California Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board voted 6-1 on Thursday to end the workplace requirement of having COVID-19 infected workers stay at home while also being paid.

The requirement, which was first put in place shortly after the COVID-19 pandemic went up in strength in 2020, was controversial with businesses losing money on workers being out with COVID yet still being paid. In April, Cal/OSHA extended it through the end of 2022, with many believing that it would be the last such extension, as COVID-19 had become much more widespread and that it was becoming more difficult to discern if workers caught COVID while on the job or by other means.

While the board voted 6-1 in favor of ending those regulations at the end of the year, more permanent rules are to be voted on soon. Many Cal/OSHA standards Board members hope to put back on a requirement for sick workers to still be paid in some way, as many fear that workers would then come in sick rather than use up sick days, which could lead to greater spread of the virus. Members particularly noted that lower wage workers often do not have sick days, which could lead to a choice between coming in sick or not getting paid.

“We are now going to be telling workers they must be excluded from work if they are sick from workplace exposure but we are not requiring they will be paid. We all know this will lead to people needing to work while sick,” said Cal/OSHA board member board member Laura Stock on Thursday. “I really want to ensure that we won’t make this mistake again.”

However, businesses remained hopeful that the regulations would be tossed out permanently, with the need for COVID-19 standards diminishing and businesses needing a better footing to still recover from COVID-19, as well as prepare against a looming recession.

“Now is the moment to end this,” noted California Chamber of Commerce policy advocate Rob Moutire.

The end of the Cal/OSHA paid sick regulations for COVID are the latest in a string of the winding down of COVID-19 measures throughout the states. While many local areas, such as Los Angeles, have mulled the return on mandatory masking, Governor Gavin Newsom has announced an end to the COVID-19 state of emergency in February, with more measures likely to be ending throughout 2023.

“This is what so many have been asking for,” explained Louise Claire, a contractor who has specialized in outfitting businesses with COVID-19 protections, to the Globe on Thursday. “You know, I was booked solid for most of 2020 to help erect plastic dividers, plan out safe distancing lines, and a lot of other measures. Now, I’m getting backed up again, this time removing some things. A lot of places that have been calling me are thrilled about this, the ending of having to pay workers sick with COVID. A lot of them said it was unfair or a burden on them, and now, while it will still take a bit to be back to normal, it seems like we’re continuing our road there.”

Permanent rules, including any sick pay rules, are expected to be decided on soon.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Evan Symon
Spread the news:


3 thoughts on “Cal/OSHA Votes To End COVID-19 Sick Pay Rules At End Of Year

  1. Why is Cal/OSHA waiting until the end of 2022 to FINALLY end the employer burden of having COVID-19 infected workers stay at home while also being paid? Weren’t the experimental mRNA vaccine mandates instituted by Democrats like Gov. Newsom and President Biden supposed to elminate the COVID virus because the vaccines were so safe and effective? It’s a wonder that there are any small businesses left in California when out of control government bureaucrats in state agencies like Cal/OSHA are dictating how business owners can run their businesses?

  2. At this point, I would love to see small business owners unify and stand up to the government who are literally and figuratively killing them. It was not the virus that did the most damage, it was the inept government response with ridiculous diktats such as paid leave for covid.
    Our current Federal and State governments are in the process of remaking America. They do not want independent businesses to compete with corporate.

    My guess as to why they are pulling back now is because even corporations can no longer absorb these forced labor costs due to the recession and inflation. We are seeing lay offs in tech and it is being done quietly and at the same time blue collar jobs openings are going unfilled. Let’s not forget the 70 year old plus retiree having to return to the labor force to pay for food and heating!
    Buckle up, the economic fallout is only beginning to rear it’s ugly head.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *