How to Stay Safe on the Job

Cal/OSHA’s regulations require protection for workers exposed to airborne infectious diseases such as the 2019 novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19). The Centers for Disease Control has issued interim guidance for businesses and employers to help prevent workplace exposure to acute respiratory illnesses, including COVID-19, in non-healthcare settings. The guidance also provides planning considerations if there are more widespread, community outbreaks of COVID-19.

CDC’s recommended strategies for employers to use now:

  • Actively encourage sick employees to stay home
  • Separate sick employees
  • Emphasize staying home when sick, respiratory etiquette and hand hygiene by all employees
  • Providing information and training to employees on:
    • Cough and sneeze etiquette
    • Hand hygiene
    • Avoiding close contact with sick persons
    • Avoiding touching eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands
    • Avoiding sharing personal items with co-workers (i.e. dishes, cups, utensils, towels)
    • Providing tissues, no-touch disposal trash cans and hand sanitizer for use by employees
  • Perform routine environmental cleaning
  • Advise employees before traveling to take certain steps
  • Additional Measures in Response to Currently Occurring Sporadic Importations of the COVID-19:
    • Employees who are well but who have a sick family member at home with COVID-19 should notify their supervisor and refer to CDC guidance for how to conduct a risk assessment of their potential exposure.
    • If an employee is confirmed to have COVID-19, employers should inform fellow employees of their possible exposure to COVID-19 in the workplace but maintain confidentiality as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Employees exposed to a co-worker with confirmed COVID-19 should refer to CDC guidance for how to conduct a risk assessment of their potential exposure.

Cal/OSHA Regulations for Workplaces Where There is Significant Risk of Exposure

  • All employers must have an Injury and Illness Prevention Program to protect employees from workplace hazards.
  • All employers must provide washing facilities that have an adequate supply of suitable cleansing agents, water and single-use towels or blowers
  • Employers must conduct a hazard assessment to determine if hazards are present in the workplace that necessitate the use of Personal Protective Equipment
  • Employers must protect employees from inhalation exposures that can result in injury, illness, disease, impairment or loss of function.

Additional Resources:

Worker Benefits

Program Why What Benefits More Information How to File
Disability Insurance If you’re unable to work due to medical quarantine or illness related to COVID-19 (certified by a medical professional) Short-term benefit payments to eligible workers who have a full or partial loss of wages due to a non-work-related illness, injury, or pregnancy. Approximately 60-70 percent of wages (depending on income); ranges from $50-$1,300 a week for up to 52 weeks. Learn more about your eligibility for Disability Insurance File a Disability Insurance claim
Paid Family Leave If you’re unable to work because you are caring for an ill or quarantined family member with COVID-19 (certified by a medical professional) Up to six weeks of benefit payments to eligible workers who have a full or partial loss of wages because they need time off work to care for a seriously ill family member. Approximately 60-70 percent of wages (depending on income); ranges from $50-$1,300 a week for up to 6 weeks. Learn more about your eligibility for Paid Family Leave File a Paid Family Leave claim
Unemployment Insurance If you have lost your job or have had your hours reduced for reasons related to COVID-19 Partial wage replacement benefit payments to workers who lose their job or have their hours reduced, through no fault of their own. Range from $40-$450 per week for up to 26 weeks. Learn more about your eligibility for Unemployment Insurance File an Unemployment Insurance claim
Paid Sick Leave If you or a family member are sick or for preventative care when civil authorities recommend quarantine The leave you have accumulated or your employer has provided to you under the Paid Sick Leave law. Paid to you at your regular rate of pay or an average based on the past 90 days. Learn more about your eligibility for Paid Sick Leave If accrued sick leave is denied, file a Wage claim
Workers’ Compensation If you are unable to do your usual job because you were exposed to and contracted COVID-19 during the regular course of your work, you may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. Benefits include temporary disability (TD) payments, which begin when your doctor says you can’t do your usual work for more than three days or you are hospitalized overnight. You may be entitled to TD for up to 104 weeks. TD stops when either you return to work, your doctor releases you for work, or your doctor says your illness has improved as much as it’s going to. TD generally pays two-thirds of the gross wages you lose while you are recovering from a work-related illness or injury, up to maximum weekly amount set by law. In addition, eligible employees are entitled to medical treatment and additional payments if a doctor determines you suffered a permanent disability because of the illness. Learn more about your eligibility for Workers’ Compensation benefits File a Workers’ Compensation claim

If your child’s school is closed, and you have to miss work to be there for them, you may be eligible for Unemployment Insurance benefits. Eligibility considerations include if you have no other care options and if you are unable to continue working your normal hours remotely.

New federal guidelines expand paid sick leave for workers.

  • 2 weeks of paid sick leave if you have, need to be diagnosed or are quarantined for coronavirus
  • 2 weeks paid sick leave if you are caring for a family member impacted by the above
  • 12 weeks paid sick leave if you’re caring for a child while their school is closed

Not everyone qualifies for paid sick leave benefits under this new law. You unfortunately aren’t eligible if you work at a company with 500 or more employees. However, your company may offer its own policies related to paid sick leave or other employment benefits.

Currently, these paid sick leave benefits are temporary and last through December 31, 2020.

Additional Resources:

COVID-19 Resource Guide for Immigrants in California


Connect to Your Local Union for the Latest Resources

Look up your local union here:

UFCW Local 5

UFCW Local 8 Golden State

UFCW Local 135

UFCW Local 324

UFCW Local 770

What UFCW is Fighting For

UFCW Western States Council is working night and day to ensure the health and safety of our members. We’re working closely with the Administration to make sure employees can:

  • Access 14 days of paid sick leave
  • Access time and facilities to wash their hands every 30 minutes and ensure other health and safety measures are being followed
  • Alter work schedules to address childcare and other needs
  • Be designated first responders/front line workers

We’re also working hard to:

  • Expedite all permissions needed by WIC and SNAP approved retailers who provide online ordering to accept WIC and SNAP through EBT payment
  • Proactively ensure compliance with the Labor Code and AB 5 and ensure a mechanism where food and grocery delivery drivers and shoppers can access state benefits with proof of hours worked on a platform if need be

If you have any questions, feel free to contact us at (714) 670-5580.

COVID-19 Information