I Want to Have a Safer and Healthier Workplace What safe and healthful work practices are required?

Physical Distancing

There are no physical distancing or barrier requirements in the workplace regardless of employee vaccination status with the following exceptions:

  • Employers must evaluate whether it is necessary to implement physical distancing during an outbreak (3 or more cases in an exposed group of employees)
  • Employers must implement physical distancing during a major outbreak (20 or more cases in an exposed group of employees)

Face Coverings

For face coverings, employers must:

  • Provide and ensure the use of face coverings by employees when face coverings are required by the California Department of Public Health or the local health department.
  • Provide face coverings to any employee who tested positive for COVID-19 and ensure use for 10 days after their first positive test (if no symptoms) or their first day of symptoms (if already recovered and are returning to work), whichever is applicable.
  • Provide face coverings to employees, upon their request, at no cost, even when they are not required.
  • Provide employees with a respirator, upon their request, at no cost, for voluntary use.
  • Follow the CDPH requirement that businesses and venue operators, including K-12 school and childcare settings, allow any individual to wear a face covering if they prefer.
  • It is illegal for employers to retaliate against any worker for using face coverings.

Indoor Airflow and Filtration

To make the workplace safer from COVID-19, employers must evaluate how to increase airflow and filtration at work. This means employers must take steps to improve airflow and filtration whenever possible. Cal/OSHA has guidance to help employers evaluate airflow in different settings. Visit https://www.dir.ca.gov/dosh/coronavirus/COVID19FAQs.html#ventilation

The COVID-19 Prevention Non-Emergency Temporary Standards requires employers to review CDPH’s Interim guidance for Ventilation, Filtration, and Air Quality in Indoor Environments.

Permit and Encourage Use of Paid Sick Leave and Workers' Compensation

If a worker is sick or has been exposed to COVID-19 you must provide the worker with certain wages and/or benefits. For more detailed information on the wages or benefits listed below, explore the page A worker may be sick or exposed to COVID-19 at my workplace on this site.

You may be obligated to provide paid sick leave.

If your workers qualify for paid sick leave, you must allow them to take the leave immediately upon their written or oral request. Learn more about paid sick leave in the Paid Sick Leave infographic and Paid Sick Leave Frequently Asked Questions.

In 2022, there was additional paid time off available due to COVID-19. Employers with 26 or more employees had to provide 2022 COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave (SPSL). SPSL provided up to 80 hours of COVID-19 related paid leave from January 1, 2022 to December 31, 2022. Up to 40 of those hours could be used for isolation and quarantine, receiving vaccines and caring for a child whose school or place of care was closed. The additional 40 hours were available only when an employee, or family member for whom the employee provides care, tested positive for COVID-19.

Read Frequently Asked Questions on SPSL.

Exclusion Pay requirements from the COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standards expired in February 2023. Non-Emergency COVID-19 Prevention Regulations that do not include Exclusion Pay requirements are in effect. Read more about the non-emergency regulations and the ETS.

If a test confirms an employee has COVID-19 and was exposed to COVID-19 at work, the employee might be eligible for workers' compensation, which provides benefits that include:

Remember: Taking an adverse act, including cutting pay or hours, terminating or suspending, in response to workers exercising their rights under the law, including making an oral or written complaint about working conditions or demand for benefits, is unlawful retaliation.

Take an online workplace health and safety training on COVID-19 infection prevention

February 2024