Governor Newsom To Revive COVID-19 Paid Sick Leave 

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Governor Newsom and the California Legislature have agreed to enact new legislation that will revive COVID-19 paid sick leave. The prior law created by Senate Bill 95, expired on September 30.  The new law is included in the state budget process and should be complete in a matter of weeks.

The proposal is still being worked on, but it is likely that it will apply to all businesses with 26 or more employees. It is also probable that the bill will be retroactive to January 1, 2022 and will continue until September 30, 2022. The qualifying reasons will be the same as in SB 95 and will cover any employee subject to 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. The leave will also apply to any employee who: has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID-19; is receiving a vaccination for protection against contracting COVID-19; is experiencing symptoms related to a COVID-19 vaccine that prevent the employee from being able to work or telework; is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and seeking a medical diagnosis; is caring for an immediate family member who is subject to an isolation or quarantine order or guidelines or who has been advised to self-quarantine; or 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.

The length of the leave will be no more than 40 hours for all employees and an additional 40 hours permitted upon proof of a positive test. Part-time workers would be eligible for paid sick leave on a pro-rata basis. In all cases the supplemental paid sick leave will be capped at 80 hours. As with the prior law, the rate of pay would be capped at a maximum of $511 per day and the employer will be able to require that this leave be exhausted before using any leave available under the Cal/OSHA Emergency Temporary Standards.

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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