This week, Governor Murphy signed an Executive Order that establishes mandatory health and safety standards in an effort to protect workers across all industries in New Jersey during the pandemic. The Executive Order requires both private and public sector employers to follow health and safety protocols for their in-office employees effective November 5, 2020.
These new standards include the following health and safety protocols:
- Health screening of all employees for COVID-19 prior to every shift. Examples include temperature checks, visual symptom checking, self-assessment checklists or health questionnaires, consistent with CDC guidance;
- A requirement that all employees must maintain at least 6 feet of distance from others to the extent possible; and that employees, customer, visitors and others wear cloth or disposable face masks while in the workplace;
- Approved sanitization materials must be provided to employees and visitors at no cost to them;
- Ensuring that employees practice hand hygiene and provide sufficient break time for this purpose;
- Routine cleaning and disinfecting of high-touch areas in accordance with CDC and Department of Health guidelines, including disinfecting of the workplace when an onsite employee has been diagnosed with COVID-19;
- Sick employees must be excluded from the workplace, with applicable leave law requirements followed;
- Prompt notification to employees of any known exposure to COVID-19 at the workplace
The Executive Order also establishes an online complaint system that workers will be able to use to report employers who do not follow the required safety guidelines.
The New Jersey Department of Labor and Department of Health is expected to develop compliance and safety training for employers and employees, and will be issuing notices and materials to inform employees of their rights and employers of their obligations.
New Jersey employers should ensure that their return to office policies and practices include the requirements of this Executive Order. Employers should also be on the lookout for additional compliance and training materials from the Department of Labor.