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COVID-19 Testing of Unvaccinated Dental Employees in CA: Who Must Pay?

OSHA Review, Inc. has received multiple inquiries in recent weeks about the California Department of Public Health’s (CDPH’s) State Public Health Officer Order of July 26, 2021. As our blog article detailing the Public Health Officer Order states, all healthcare facilities, including dental offices, must ensure that unvaccinated personnel undergo at least weekly COVID-19 testing. Most of the inquiries we have received have sought information on who is required to pay for the weekly testing – the unvaccinated employee(s) or the employer.

Who Must Pay for the CDPH Testing Requirement?

The CDPH mandate for managing unvaccinated employees does not indicate who is to pay for the employee testing requirement (and time off to test). Since the financial responsibility is not stipulated in the CDPH employment mandate, it is not a regulatory issue, but rather a risk management decision for employment practices. Our compliance service does not cover employment law or risk management. Therefore, we recommend consulting either with your employment practices liability carrier (if you have one) or with someone specializing in human resources/employment law about this issue. Keep in mind that any employee can file a claim against their employer for allegations of wrongful employment practices.

CDPH Versus Cal/OSHA Testing Requirement

The CDPH mandate differs from Cal/OSHA’s emergency temporary standard (ETS), which covers preventing COVID-19 exposure in the workplace (i.e. if an employee that tested positive for COVID-19 has come into “close contact” with other employees at work).  “Close contact” is defined as closer than 6 feet for more than 15 minutes without a mask. For current Cal/OSHA requirements on COVID-19 prevention in occupational settings in California, please refer to our blog article published on June 24, 2021.

Since 1992, OSHA Review, Inc. has provided dental professionals with comprehensive programs to support regulatory compliance and infection control. We are a registered continuing education provider in the state of California, specializing in Dental Practice Act, infection control, and OSHA training.

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