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California Legislature Proposes COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave, Again

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:

Retroactive Application

As with SPSL passed in 2021, this new SPSL benefit will apply retroactively to January 1, 2022.

Covered Employers

As with the 2021 version, employers with more than 25 employees will be required to comply with SPSL.

Covered Employees

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:

  1. 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.

  2. The covered employee has been advised by a health care provider to isolate or quarantine due to COVID-19.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. The covered employee is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and seeking a medical diagnosis.

  6. 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.

  7. 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, PSLS hours cannot be used to offset any exclusion pay obligation.

Notice Requirement

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 P.C. © 2022National Law Review, Volume XII, Number 34

About this Author

Susan E. Groff, Jackson Lewis, disability accommodation lawyer, protected absence attorney

Susan E. Groff is a Principal in the Los Angeles, California, office of Jackson Lewis P.C. She advises and counsels management on various employment related issues.

Ms. Groff advises employers on complying with federal and California requirements for disability accommodation and protected leaves of absence.

In addition, Ms. Groff counsels employers on a host of other employment issues, including wage and hour laws, harassment and discrimination complaints, workplace investigations,...

Cepideh Roufougar, Employment Attorney, Jackson Lewis Law Firm

Cepideh Roufougar is a Principal in the San Francisco, California, office of Jackson Lewis P.C.

She focuses on public and private sector management in all areas of labor and employment law. Ms. Roufougar positions herself as a strategic partner when providing advice and counsel about litigation avoidance, employee management issues, implementing disciplinary actions, collective bargaining issues, and the California Public Safety Officers and Firefighters Procedural Bill of Rights Acts. Her ability to see the big picture clearly and understand her client’s...

Cecilie E. Read KM Attorney Los Angeles
KM Attorney

Cecilie E. Read is the Knowledge Management (“KM”) Attorney for Jackson Lewis P.C.’s California Advice and Counsel Resource Group, and is based in the Los Angeles, California, office of Jackson Lewis P.C. She uses her expansive understanding of the complexities of California employment law to ensure all Jackson Lewis attorneys are consistently ahead of the curve and working efficiently to serve clients.

Prior to joining Jackson Lewis, Ms. Read defended employers in a wide range of industries in employment claims from single-plaintiff harassment claims to wage...