MCLE Self-Study: Worker Rights in the Age of COVID-19
By Andy Katz
Andy Katz is the principal of Law Offices of Andy Katz, and has practiced in employment, workers’ compensation, environmental and consumer protection, and public health law for over a decade. He is a graduate of Santa Clara University School of Law and the University of California, Berkeley. Mr. Katz is an active member of the California Employment Lawyers Association.
The state of emergency created by the COVID-19 pandemic has transformed the most basic living activities for people all over the world. How does California employment law meet this moment, at a time when many workers are out of work, and need to protect themselves, their families, and their communities from the severe health risks of the virus? This article reviews issues presented by COVID-19 for wage replacement programs, sick and family leave, disability accommodations, workplace safety, and remote working.1
Within just a few weeks in March, the response to the rapid pace of the pandemic advanced from calls for maximizing social distancing in the general population to mandatory "stay home" orders to prevent further spread. On March 19, Governor Newsom issued Executive Order N-33-20, mandating all residents to stay at home "except as needed to maintain continuity of operations of the federal infrastructure sectors."