Covid-19 Rules for California Workers: Things to Know


As the Omicron variant continues to dominate across California, more and more workers are starting to learn that they have been exposed to the virus and are now experiencing the symptoms. But what comes next? Well, new rules have been implemented for both employers and workers in order to keep workplaces as safe as possible and reduce the spread of the latest variant. 

The majority of California workers that are required to work in-person are protected by temporary rules that have been implemented for emergency reasons brought by the Division of Occupational Safety and Health, otherwise known as Cal/OSHA. A subdivision of workers, however, are protected by a set of different rules in the workplace, which include some healthcare facilities, correctional facilities, drug treatment centers, and homeless shelters.

Many workers in California have questions regarding their workplace rights during the pandemic. Here are the answers that can bring you more clarity in terms of your workplace rights:

  1. Am I able to get time off to get tested?

To a certain degree, as it is dependent on the circumstances in which you are exposed. For example, if you are exposed to Covid-19 at work, then generally, your employer must provide you with testing for free, during paid time. This is required by Cal/OSHA’s covid workplace rules. However, this does not apply if you have recovered from Covid.

If you have been exposed to Covid outside of work, then your employer still must provide you with testing for free, during paid time, if it allows you to remain at work or return to work.

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For unvaccinated, symptomatic workers, they must also be provided tests by their employer for free, during paid time, whether there is a known exposure or not.

  1. Can my boss require me to work even if there’s a Covid outbreak at my job?

This is dependent on a number of factors, so the answer varies. Generally, employers must provide testing to all workers who may have been exposed to Covid at no cost. If you have tested positive, then your employer must send you home with pay and you may only return once you have fulfilled the public health guidance for ending isolation. 

However, if you were exposed to Covid but do not test positive immediately, the circumstances in whether or not you will be sent home vary depending on the category you fit into regarding the state public health department’s isolation and quarantine guidance. 

If there was an outbreak at your work, but you weren’t exposed to Covid (perhaps because you work in a different part of the building than those who contracted it), then the Cal/OSHA workplace rules surrounding Covid do not prevent your boss from requiring you to work in person.

When there are outbreaks, then employers must provide increased testing.

  1. Am I required to wear a mask at work? Must patrons wear a mask? Who is enforcing the rules surrounding masks?

Yes, workers are required to wear masks when working indoors. This rule is implemented by the statewide mask mandate.

However, there are some exceptions, including:

  • When workers are in a room by themselves
  • When workers are eating or drinking
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It is the employer’s responsibility to ensure that employees follow the statewide mask mandate. If the employer does not enforce this rule, then workers can file a complaint to Cal/OSHA or contact the office that handles workers’ rights regarding Covid-19 at (833) 579-0927.

Additionally, employees are able to work together to raise a safety issue with their employer if the employer does not enforce the mask mandate. Generally, workers prefer this route as opposed to handling any matter like this alone.

  1. Can I receive workers’ compensation if I get Covid whole at work?

Yes, workers who believe they contracted Covid at work are able to file a workers’ compensation claim. Workers’ compensation helps to cover expenses that have come up due to your illness or injury, such as medical expenses, and temporary or permanent disability payments due to lost wages. 

The process for workers to file this type of claim is generally straightforward. Once the worker has filed a claim, then the employer must provide him or her with a form to fill out to begin the process. If you wish to file a workers’ compensation claim for an occupational illness because you contracted Covid at work, you can read this guide for workers provided by the Department of Industrial Relations.

What You Can Do As an Employer to Reduce the Risk of an Outbreak

As an employer in any industry, it is imperative that you take the necessary precautions to protect your workers, guests, customers, and patients. During a time when Covid-19 and its variants, such as Delta and Omicron, it is extremely important that you do what it takes to reduce the spread of the virus in your workplace. As a result, business owners should employ disinfection services Los Angeles to reduce the risks of an outbreak.  


While many business owners may opt to delegate their own employees to clean and disinfect the workplace, it is best to hire a team that specializes in Covid-19 cleaning services and has the skills, knowledge, and resources to provide a thorough, effective cleaning.

If you are searching for a highly reputable Covid disinfection services near me, the professionals at Clean Care Services are the perfect solution to providing a healthier, cleaner, and safer workplace. By hiring a team of professionals, your employees will be able to focus on their tasks and this will also improve your employee morale, as they will not have to worry about cleaning the workplace and can do what they were hired to do. 

Clean Care Services has over 30 years of experience providing exceptional cleaning and disinfecting services for businesses in all industries. From healthcare facilities, to schools and educational institutions, to retail stores, to restaurants, to grocery stores, to offices, and beyond – there is no shortage of commercial cleaning services offered by this team of professionals. If you are looking for a highly reputable company that can provide disinfection services near me, contact Clean Care Services.