U.S. State Updates
Department of Public Health (CDPH)
The CDPH issued a State Public Health Officer Order on June 8, 2022 that adds definitions for “close contact” and “infectious period.”
In the context of isolation and quarantine periods for those infected with or exposed to COVID-19, “Close Contact” is defined as someone sharing the same indoor airspace (e.g., home, clinic waiting room, airplane, etc.) for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period (for example, three individual 5-minute exposures for a total of 15 minutes) during an infected person’s infection period.
“Infectious Period” is defined as:
- For symptomatic infected persons, 2 days before the infected person had any symptoms through day 10 after symptoms first appeared (or through days 5-10 if testing negative on day 5 or later), and 24 hours have passed with no fever, without the use of fever-reducing medications, and symptoms have improved, OR
- For asymptomatic infected persons, 2 days before the positive specimen collection date through day 10 after positive specimen collection date (or through days 5-10 if testing negative on day 5 or later) after specimen collection date for their first positive COVID-19 test.
When it comes to identifying close contacts and exposures, infected persons who test negative on or after day 5 and end isolation are no longer considered to be within their infectious period. These individuals should continue to follow CDPH isolation recommendations, including wearing a well-fitting face mask through day 10.
Department of Industrial Relations (Cal/OSHA)
The FAQs for the COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) were updated on June 21, 2022. The FAQs have been updated to include information related to the ETS revisions that went into effect on May 6, 2022. If you scroll to the bottom of the page, there are footnotes describing the updates to the FAQs. They also have a shorter set of FAQs that highlight changes between the January 14, 2022 ETS and the revised ETS from May 6, 2022.
Cal/OSHA is also proposing a rule that would impose COVID-19 requirements on workplaces through 2024. You can find the proposed rule here. We won’t go over all the details at this point as a hearing for the proposed rule has not been scheduled yet. Many of the current employer obligations under the ETS would remain in place. Employers would continue to be required to provide testing for those who have a close contact in the workplace as well as provide face coverings to employees. In addition, notice requirements as well as recordkeeping and reporting requirements will continue. We will keep you posted as to if and when the final rule is passed and any further considerations you may need to take into account.
Employment Development Department (EDD)
The EDD has released its forecast for the 2023 Disability Insurance (DI) Fund. The DI fund provides State Disability Insurance (SDI) and Paid Family Leave (PFL) benefits for California employees. The 2023 employee contribution rate is projected to remain at 1.1%; the maximum weekly benefit is projected to increase from $1,540 to $1,547; and the taxable wage base, from which DI contributions are taken, is projected to increase from $145,600 to $146,262. The final 2023 DI Fund forecast is expected to be published in mid to late October.
California employers may opt out of the state plan if a Voluntary Plan (VP) is established and certain requirements are met. Two of these requirements are that the employee cost of the VP cannot be more than what the employee would pay for SDI and the benefits paid by the VP must be at least equal to what SDI would pay. For more information about establishing a Voluntary Plan for your company, please contact The Larkin Company. We will help determine if a Voluntary Plan makes sense for your company.
The Larkin Company will reach out to our clients for whom we currently administer a VP to assist them in planning for 2023.
If you missed the Department of Labor and Employment’s webinar on calculating premiums for the upcoming Family and Medical Leave Insurance (FAMLI) program (contributions begin on January 1, 2023), you’re in luck. They just released a recording of the webinar.
For those who are familiar with the state unemployment insurance (SUI) process in Colorado, the FAMLI program will mirror the unemployment insurance program’s definition of wages which should make things easier for employers. They are creating an employer guide to assist employers with calculating wages for FAMLI purposes. We will share once it’s available. They have shared an updated pay stub sample with the types of wages that are subject to SUI premiums.
If you are interested in learning more about FAMLI, there will be in-person and virtual town hall meetings coming soon. Dates and time are being worked out and the Department of Labor and Employment would like to hear more from you if you are interested in attending. You can RSVP here.
Last but not least, the Department is seeking employer feedback which you can provide via survey that should take no more than 10 minutes to complete.
COVID-19 Paid Vaccination Leave
The Empire State has extended the COVID-19 Paid Vaccination Leave an additional year per AB 9513. The law was due to expire on December 31, 2022 and will now expire on December 31, 2023. As a quick reminder, the law requires employers to provide each employee with up to four hours of paid time off per COVID-19 vaccine injection. The original bill from 2021 can be found here.
Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB)
The WCB has updated several of its forms to be more inclusive including the DB-450 (Notice and Proof of Claim for Disability Benefits). The Board has added an “x” designation for those who do not wish to identify as male or female. Gendered pronouns have been replaced with gender-neutral pronouns. For our clients with self-insured New York DBL programs, we will update the DB-450 for your New York employees who need to file claims. For those with insured New York DBL programs, you want to ensure your carrier is using the updated form. The older version of the DB-450 will continue to be accepted for 45 calendar days after June 30, i.e., until August 14, 2022. The online versions of the form are also in the process of being updated.
Paid Leave Oregon is currently proposing administrative rules regarding paid leave appeals, benefits, contributions, and equivalent plans. If you would like to participate in one of three rulemaking public hearings in July regarding the proposed rules, you can do so by submitting an email to Rules@employ.oregon.gov or by registering for one of the Zoom meetings below (all times are Pacific Standard Time):
As of July 1, 2022, the Rhode Island Temporary Disability Insurance (TDI) maximum weekly benefit will increase to $1,007 with the dependent allowance increasing to $1,359 (for 5 dependents).