When can an employee who previously tested positive for COVID-19 return to work?

The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standard, effective November 30, 2020, contains return to work criteria for employers to use to determine when an employee may return to work.

Under the standard, symptomatic COVID-19 cases cannot return to work until:

  1. At least 24 hours have passed since a fever of 100.4 or higher has resolved without the use of fever-reducing medications;
  2. The COVID-19 symptoms have improved; and
  3. At least 10 days have passed since the COVID-19 symptoms first appeared.

Employees who tested positive but never developed COVID-19 symptoms cannot return to work until a minimum of 10 days have passed since the date of specimen collection of their first positive COVID-19 test.

The standard's return-to-work criteria follows California's earlier guidance in the COVID-19 Employer Playbook For a Safe Reopening, which outlines virus infection timeframes based on recommendations from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

For more information on Cal/OSHA’s new COVID-19 emergency standard, review the following guidance: