On January 14, 2022, Cal-OSHA’s revised Emergency Temporary Standards became effective. To assist employers with compliance, an updated FAQ and additional Fact Sheets were issues.

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The Fact Sheet provides workers and employers with a easy to understand chart of when and how long someone must be excluded from the workplace if they test positive or are exposed to someone who has COVID-19.  The Cal-OSHA guidance is in conformity with the January 6, 2022, California Department of Public Health (CDPH) isolation and quarantine guidance.

The Fact Sheet also addresses two additional issues – one a reminder of when Exclusion Pay is required and what to do if a worker is exposed but there are no tests available.

Exclusion Pay: Employers are reminded that when workers are excluded from the workplace due to a work-related COVID-19 exposure, they are entitled to be paid “exclusion pay” for the period of time they are excluded from work – except – if they can work remotely or if they are receiving disability pay or Workers Compensation Temporary Disability Benefits.

No Tests Available: If an unvaccinated worker cannot be tested, they must continue to quarantine for at least 10 days.  If the worker is fully vaccinated and cannot be tested on or by the 5th day, the employee may return to work but must wear a face covering and must continue to social distance for 14 calendar days following the “close contact.”


Employers must continue to comply with the Cal-OSHA Emergency Temporary Standards that originally took effect on November 30, 2020, and then updated on December 16, 2021, to be more consistent with the CDPH and federal OSHA standards.  The most current ETS is effective from January 14, 2022, through April 14, 2022.
The FAQ’s detail
  • What changed
  • What remain in place from the original ETS
  • Provided clarity on physical distancing, respirators and face covering requirements
  • Vaccines
  • Testing
  • What to do during an Outbreak
  • Enforcement
Some of the important changes are summarized below:
  • Self-Testing:  The ETS provides that if an employee uses a self-test, the employer or a telehealth professional must observe the use of the test for the results to be considered.
  • Employer Provided Testing: must be made available to fully vaccinated employees after a “close contact”
  • During an Outbreak:  Employer must make COVID-19 testing available to their employees, regardless of vaccination status on a weekly basis.  During a “major outbreak” the employer provided testing must be twice weekly, regardless of vaccination status.
Physical Distancing:
  • No longer required, EXCEPT:
  • During an Outbreak (3 or more employees in an exposed group): The employer must evaluate whether physical distancing or barriers will be necessary to control the transmission.
  • Major Outbreak (20 or more employees in an exposed group: The employer must require physical distancing for all employees regardless of vaccination status, unless not feasible.
Face Coverings:
  • Required indoors and in vehicles for unvaccinated employees
  • CDPH: Required indoors workplaces (and other indoor public settings) regardless of vaccination status.
  • Exceptions:
    • When alone in a room or vehicle
    • When eating and Drinking
    • When an Accommodation is required
    • When the job makes it infeasible or creates a safety hazard
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