Does your real estate office have a safety plan in place to protect agents on the job?

  • Yes. (53%, 20 Votes)
  • No. (47%, 18 Votes)

Total Voters: 38

California employers — including real estate brokers — need to be aware of new notification requirements for employees exposed to COVID-19.

Previously, under California’s COVID-19 Employer Playbook, employers were strongly encouraged to follow guidelines to inform employees of potential COVID-19 exposure. With the passage of AB 685, these guidelines have now become law.

Beginning January 1, 2021 through January 1, 2023, employers need to inform employees of potential exposure to COVID-19 at the workplace. Within one business day of receiving notice of potential COVID-19 exposure, the employer needs to provide:

  • written notice to all employees, including the employers of any subcontracted employees, who were on the premises at the time the infected individual was present during the infectious period;
  • any disinfection or safety plan the employer will implement to address the COVID-19 exposure;
  • information regarding COVID-19 related benefits to which the employee is entitled, such as:
    • workers’ compensation;
    • COVID-19-related leave;
    • company sick leave;
    • state-mandated leave; and
    • anti-retaliations and anti-discrimination protections. [Labor Code §6325 (a)]

For these purposes, written notice includes any usual way of communicating employment-related information which can be expected to be received within one business day, including:

  • email;
  • text message; or
  • personal service. [Lab C §6325 (a)(1)]

When a COVID-19 outbreak occurs among employees, the employer needs to notify the local public health agency, providing the names, number, occupation and worksite of the infected employees. The California Department of Public Health defines an outbreak as three or more COVID-19 cases occurring within a two-week period.

Further, when a working environment poses an imminent risk of infection, the employer needs to prohibit entry into the immediate area where such risk exists. [Lab C §6325 (b)]

Of note: California’s new notification requirements are not a free pass to violate privacy laws. Any notifications provided to employees may not include identifying characteristics or names of the infected individuals.

COVID-19 safety compliance

These new notification requirements are on top of a growing list of laws brokers and other employers in California need to stay on top of to maintain a safe workplace in the time of COVID-19.

For example, the Department of Financial Protection and Innovation (formerly known as the Department of Business Oversight) has conducted checks of branches to confirm all licensees and clients are complying with the latest guidance on face masks from the California Department of Public Health (CDPH).

All clients and customers are required to wear face coverings in accordance with CDPH guidance.  Those who refuse to wear masks or do not meet CDPH exemptions may not enter places of business.

While not a legal requirement, agents and brokers also ought to be ready with a plan to show clients. This includes information on what precautions the brokerage is taking to keep everyone safe and healthy, and what precautions the brokerage expects their clients to take, too. This will put everyone’s minds at ease and allow agents and clients to focus on completing the home sale.

Related FARM Letters:

FARM: Health precautions when buying a home

FARM: Health precautions when listing your home