SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California companies must warn their workers of any potential exposure to the coronavirus and they must pay their employees workers compensation benefits if they get sick with the disease under two laws Gov. Gavin Newsom signed Thursday.

Newsom signed both laws over the objections of business groups, who say they are “unworkable.”

SB 1159 makes people who have the coronavirus eligible for workers compensation benefits. The law takes effect immediately and applies to all workers, but it treats first responders and health care workers differently.

Newsom also signed AB 685. It says companies must tell their employees if they have been exposed to someone who tests positive for the coronavirus.

“Protecting workers is critical to slowing the spread of this virus,” Newsom said. “These two laws will help California workers stay safe at work and get the support they need if they are exposed to COVID-19.”

Newsom signed both laws during a Zoom call with supporters, including labor unions. He said the laws “prioritize our workforce.”


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