May 11, 2021

Cal/OSHA Issues New Vaccine Guidelines

In news that will be welcomed by employers, Cal/OSHA has finally updated its Emergency Temporary Standards (ETS) to address whether fully vaccinated employees must be excluded from the workplace if exposed to COVID-19.

Prior to the updated guidance, an employer was required to exclude all employees from the workplace, regardless of vaccination status, if (1) they contracted COVID-19; or (2) were exposed to COVID-19 in the workplace.

Now, employers must only exclude employees who are not fully vaccinated. However, employers must still exclude fully vaccinated employees if they have a confirmed case of COVID-19, or have had a COVID-19 exposure and are experiencing COVID-19 related symptoms.

While this change allows employers to keep more of their employees in the workplace, it is important to remember that the remainder of the ETS remain in effect, including the requirements related to masks, physical distancing, and testing.

More Changes Coming

On May 7, 2021, Cal/OSHA submitted further proposed revisions to the ETS which will be considered at its May 20, 2021 meeting. The revised ETS will provide further direction regarding vaccinated employees, including updated social distancing and testing requirements, as well as updated definitions and the clarification of other terms.

If and when the updated ETS goes into effect, we will provide a further update.

For more information, contact Michelle Freeman in Hirschfeld Kraemer LLP’s San Francisco office,, or (415) 835-9003.