In late January, California Governor Gavin Newsom announced that he and the legislature had reached an agreement on a framework to revive COVID-19 supplemental paid sick leave (SPSL), which expired in September 2021. However, there was no bill and only speculation on what coverage would look like.
On February 2, 2022, Assembly Bill 84, which details the newest version of SPSL, was released. Though still pending in the state legislature, there has been a promise by the state to move quickly to pass this bill. As a budget bill, once signed by the governor, the bill will take effect immediately. A mirror version, Senate Bill 114, is anticipated to be released in the California Senate. It is common for budget-related bills to have mirror bills in both the Assembly and the Senate to allow them to move more quickly through the legislature. Whichever bill moves more quickly is likely to be final.
Here are the details that employers need to know to date:
As with SPSL passed in 2021, this new SPSL benefit will apply retroactively to January 1, 2022.
As with the 2021 version, employers with more than 25 employees will be required to comply with SPSL.
Full and part-time employees are entitled to SPSL if the employee is unable to work or telework for any of the reasons detailed in the legislation. There is no length of service requirement for the leave entitlement.
Covered Reasons for Leave
Covered employees are entitled to SPSL for the following reasons:
- The covered employee is subject to a quarantine or isolation period related to COVID-19 as defined by an order or guidance of the State Department of Public Health, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), or a local public health officer who has jurisdiction over the workplace.
- The covered employee has been advised by a health care provider to isolate or quarantine due to COVID-19.
- The covered employee is attending an appointment for themselves or a family member to receive a vaccine or a vaccine booster for protection against COVID-19.
- The covered employee is experiencing symptoms or caring for a family member experiencing symptoms, related to a COVID-19 vaccine or vaccine booster that prevents the employee from being able to work or telework.
- The covered employee is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and seeking a medical diagnosis.
- The covered employee is caring for a family member who is subject to an order or guidance or who has been advised to isolate or quarantine.
- The covered employee is caring for a child, whose school or place of care is closed or otherwise unavailable for reasons related to COVID-19 on the premises.
Amount of Covered Leave
A full-time covered employee is entitled to 40 hours of SPSL for the reasons detailed above. A part-time covered employee is entitled to a proportionate number of hours of SPSL based on the type of schedule the employee maintains for the reasons detailed above.
Both full and part-time employees are entitled to an additional amount of time, equal to their allotment for the reasons detailed above, if the employee or family member for whom the employee is caring for tests positive for COVID-19, e.g., full-time employees are entitled to an additional 40 hours. Employers are permitted to require documentation of the positive test to provide leave for this reason.
The maximum amount of SPSL a full-time employee can take during the period from January 1, 2022, to September 30, 2022, is 80 hours. If an employee is eligible for exclusion pay under the Cal/OSHA Emergency Temporary Standard, SPSL hours cannot be used to offset any exclusion pay obligation.
The employer shall provide an employee with written notice that sets forth the amount of COVID-19 supplemental paid sick leave that the employee has used through the pay period in which it was due to be paid on either the employee’s itemized wage statement described in Labor Code section 226 or in a separate writing provided on the designated pay date with the employee’s payment of wages.
The employer shall list zero hours used if a worker has not used any COVID-19 supplemental paid sick leave.
Employers are required to post a notice to be developed by the Labor Commissioner about this new SPSL benefit. If an employer’s covered employees do not frequent a workplace, the employer may satisfy this requirement by disseminating the notice through electronic means, such as e-mail.
Jackson Lewis is closely monitoring this bill as it proceeds through the legislature. If you have questions about SPSL or related issues, contact a Jackson Lewis attorney to discuss.