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New Worker Protections Signed Into Law Amid COVID-19 Pandemic

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Sacramento, CA – Continuing to add to his worker protection package legislation, Governor Gavin Newsom today signed two more bills.

SB 1159 expands access to workers’ compensation for those who test positive for coronavirus due to an outbreak at work to get the support they need, including necessary medical care and wage replacement benefits. Additionally, the bill establishes a rebuttable presumption for workers when there is a workplace outbreak over a 14-day timeframe.

AB 685 ensures timely notification to employees and local and state public health officials of COVID-19 cases at workplaces, aiding workers in taking necessary precautions like seeking testing, getting medical help, or complying with quarantine directives. Employers must also report known cases to employees who may have been exposed to COVID-19 within one business day.

“Protecting workers is critical to slowing the spread of this virus,” said Governor Newsom. “These two laws will help California workers stay safe at work and get the support they need if they are exposed to COVID-19.”

In recent weeks, the governor has enacted other components of this package, including legislation that ensured access to paid sick leave along with funding for worker and employer outreach, education and enforcement activities related to COVID-19, and.