Governor Newsom Signs COVID-19 Sick Pay, Small Business Relief Bill
California is extending COVID-19 supplemental paid sick leave (SPSL) through the end of 2022 under a bill signed into law by Governor Gavin Newsom on September 29, 2022. Assembly Bill (AB) 152 will also set up a program to provide grants of up to $50,000 to qualified small businesses to cover costs incurred for COVID-19 SPSL. The law takes effect immediately, extending the SPSL, which was previously set to expire on September 30, 2022.
Under the law providing for California SPSL, which was passed in February 2022, full-time employees are entitled to up to 40 hours of paid leave if they are forced to miss work after being diagnosed with COVID-19 or need to care for a family member diagnosed with COVID-19. The law provides an additional 40 hours of SPSL to employees if they themselves test positive for COVID-19 and cannot work remotely. AB 152 amends the law to allow employers to require a third COVID-19 test within 24 hours of a second positive test and allows employers to deny additional COVID-19 SPSL to employees who refuse to submit to tests.
AB 152 also establishes the California Small Business and Nonprofit COVID-19 Relief Grant Program within the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz). The program will provide grants to qualified small businesses and nonprofit organizations for COVID-19 SPSL costs incurred between January 1, 2022, and December 31, 2022.
The law was signed one day before the deadline for Governor Newsom to sign bills passed in the latest legislative session. In a press release, Governor Newsom’s office said AB 152 is part of a slew of bills he signed to “help hard-working Californians access family and disability leave benefits.”