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California Proposes Legislation Requiring Employees to Provide Proof of COVID-19 Vaccination Status as a Condition of Employment

In early February, Assembly Bill 1993 (AB1993) was proposed to amend COVID-19 vaccination requirements in the workplace and introduce a responsibility to employers to implement and maintain their own vaccination plans.

If passed and signed by Governor Newsome, the legislation would become effective as of January 1, 2023, and require an employer to mandate each employee or independent contractor, who is eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, to show proof to the employer or an employer authorized agent, that the individual has been vaccinated against COVID-19.

AB1993 would establish an exception to the vaccine requirement for an individual who is ineligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine due to a medical condition or disability or due to a sincerely held religious belief and would require compliance with various other state and federal laws.

The bill would also require proof-of-vaccination status to be obtained in a manner that complies with federal and state privacy laws and to not be retained by the employer, unless the employee/independent contractor provides authorization for the employer to retain proof.

Finally, it has been written into the legislation that the bill would repeal itself in the event the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices determines that COVID-19 vaccinations are no longer necessary for the health and safety of individuals.

Next Steps for Employers

Even though this legislation is simply proposed at the moment, employers are highly encouraged to remain abreast on the topic in the event of the state’s passing/governor’s signing. As such, employers would be highly encouraged to seek the assistance of legal counsel in order to ensure the company’s vaccination plan falls under compliance of the state’s requirements. For those employers who have yet to develop a safety plan, Cal/OSHA has provided updated, fillable plan templates that can be found here.

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