California’s New Supplemental Paid Sick Leave for COVID-19

Nilan Johnson Lewis PA
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California recently passed new legislation that will require employers to provide their California employees with up to 80 hours of supplemental paid sick leave for various COVID-19-related reasons. Sound familiar? There are some similarities between the new law and the 2020 COVID-19 supplemental paid sick law, but the differences are significant for many employers. We’ve put together key takeaways for you to consider before the law becomes effective on Monday, March 29, 2021.

Coverage

Employers with 26 or more employees and certain public entities are covered under the new COVID-19 supplemental paid sick leave (SPSL) law. As with the 2020 version of the law, all employees are covered, but now employees will be entitled to use their leave to care for family members. A “family member” for purposes of SPSL is defined as a child, parent, spouse, grandparent, grandchild, or sibling.

Leave Amount

Full-time employees are entitled to 80 hours of SPSL. Less than full-time employees are entitled to the total number of hours they are normally scheduled to work over two weeks with caveats for those employees with variable schedules. An employee’s SPSL entitlement is in addition to any other employer-provided paid leave. However, employers may be able to offset paid leave an employee used for a covered reason between January 1, 2021, and March 29, 2021.

Reasons for Leave

Covered employees who are unable to work or telework may use SPSL for the following reasons:

  • They are in a quarantine or isolation period related to COVID-19 as defined by an order or guidelines of the State Department of Public Health, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or a local health officer who has jurisdiction over the workplace.
  • They are advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID-19.
  • They are attending an appointment to receive a vaccine for protection against contracting COVID-19.
  • They are experiencing symptoms related to a COVID-19 vaccine that prevents the employee from working or teleworking.
  • They are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and seeking a medical diagnosis.
  • They are caring for a family member who is subject to an order or guidelines to quarantine or who has been advised to self-quarantine.
  • They are caring for a child whose school or place of care is closed or otherwise unavailable for reasons related to COVID-19 on the premises.

Retroactivity and Duration

SPSL is retroactive to January 1, 2021, and is set to expire on September 30, 2021.

Notice Requirements

Employers must conspicuously display and/or electronically distribute . Employers should also ensure SPSL leave amounts are displayed separately on employee earnings statements.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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