Employment Law Bulletin | December 17, 2020


On October 21, 2020, we published a bulletin covering Assembly Bill 685, a law containing new notification requirements for employers who learn an employee has tested positive for COVID-19 and may have exposed others in the workplace.  That law will go into effect on January 1, 2021 and employers will need to be ready to issue notices to their employees and subcontractors within one business day of discovering the potential exposure, and within 48 hours if there is an outbreak.  These notices must not only disclose the potential exposure, but also must contain information about COVID-related benefits and the employer’s disinfection and safety plan.  Our October bulletin discussing the requirements of AB 685 can be found here: https://www.smlaw.com/employment-law-bulletin-october-21-2020/

As of December 1, 2020, employers now have additional notice obligations.  On November 30, 2020, CalOSHA issued its Emergency Temporary Standards (ETS).  Although the ETS is subject to modification in the future, it was approved by the California Department of Industrial Relations’ Office of Administrative Law and became enforceable immediately.  The ETS requires employers to develop a COVID-19 Prevention Program (CPP) and adds additional notification, pay, testing, and investigation requirements employers must meet.  Failure to comply with the ETS can result in significant penalties and possible operation shutdown.   More information and a Model CPP developed by CalOSHA can be found here:   Frequently Asked Questions and template documents.

Both the ETS and AB 685 require employers to act quickly after receiving notice of a potential exposure to COVID -19 in the workplace.  In order to help our clients achieve compliance with the short deadlines demanded by these laws, we have developed useful and easy to use forms that include employer notification and reporting protocols, workplace investigation forms, and required notices.  If you are interested in learning more about compliance or in getting customized forms to help your business respond effectively to COVID-19 exposure, contact an SMT Employment Law Attorney.

Kari Brown


Below are the new minimum wage requirements for the State of California and some Bay Area cities.  Unless indicated below, the minimum wage takes effect on January 1, 2021.  Other cities in California may have their own minimum wage laws.

All Employers Employers with
1-25 employees
Employers of 26 or more employees
California $13.00 $14.00
Santa Rosa
Sonoma $14.00* $15.00*
Novato $14.00 $15.00 (26-99 employees)
$15+CPI (employers of 100 or more)
San Francisco
$16.07 (7/1/2020)
$16.07+CPI (7/1/2021)
Alameda $15.00
Oakland $14.36
Richmond $15.00*
San Jose $15.45
Redwood City
San Mateo
Santa Clara $15.65
Belmont $15.90

*Allows for a medical benefit credit
CPI = Consumer Price Index

Local ordinance minimum wage rates typically apply to employees who work two or more hours per week inside the city.  This is true even if the employer does not have an office or fixed worksite within the city.  Contact an SMT Employment Law Attorney if you have questions about the application of the new minimum wage laws to your workforce.

Lisa Ann Hilario

No Se Habla Español?

SMT’s employment attorneys can provide your company with employment policies, forms and employee disciplinary documentation in Spanish. Providing such important information to employees in the language they understand is critical to employee performance, providing a welcoming diverse work environment, and protecting your company against employment claims. Contact an SMT attorney today to get started.

Spaulding McCullough & Tansil LLP
Employment Law Group

Jan Gabrielson Tansil  | Lisa Ann Hilario | Kari Brown

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