Governor Gavin Newsom signed Assembly Bill 1281 on Tuesday, September 29, 2020. The bill extends the business-to-business and employee partial moratoria, also known as employee privacy rights, until the end of 2022.

According to Michael Hellbusch, partner at Rutan and Tucker, AB-1281, as most privacy professionals know, Proposition 24 a.k.a. the California Privacy Rights Act (CPRA), which will be voted on at the November 3rd election, would extend the same employment and B2B carve-outs until 2023. As a result, the Legislature inserted a provision in AB-1281 which provides that the law only takes effect if Proposition 24 is not approved at the election. While polling suggests Prop. 24 has strong voter support, the passage of AB-1281 signals that the Legislature considers the carve-out extensions to be too important to leave to popular vote. 

Even with the employment extension, businesses have already begun reevaluating the personal information collected about their employees and independent contractors due to the notice at collection requirement under the CCPA. The CCPA requires employers to provide at or before the point data is collected, a notice that describes the categories of data being collected, including the purposes it will be used.

Monitoring employee data, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, is paramount. Health data collected during contact tracing, health monitoring, and temperature checks becomes a normalized business practice in ensuring employees’ safety in the workplace. For many organizations, personal information necessarily collected for COVID-19 related purposes will be new data types and much more sensitive than data collected during an ordinary course of business, which means awareness and compliance should be top of mind to when handling this type of data, as it is not exempt from privacy regulations such as the CCPA.