California Reinstates COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave

California Reinstates COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave

On February 9, 2022, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed Senate Bill 114 that provides additional COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave (SPSL 2022) under new California Labor Code Section 248.6. This new law will look familiar to employers that were required to comply with California’s 2021 COVID-19 supplemental paid sick leave law. 

However, various provisions of the SPSL 2022 law are different from the 2021 law, and thus employers will not be able to simply restart the policies and practices they had in place previously. 

This article focuses on provisions of the 2022 law that apply to employers generally, rather than provisions specifically applicable to firefighters or providers of in-home supportive and/or waiver personal care services.  

The SPSL 2022 law goes into effect on February 19, 2022.  It covers employers with more than 25 employees.  SPSL 2022 leave is retroactive to January 1, 2022, and is currently set to expire September 30, 2022. 

An employee who is unable to work or telework for reasons listed in the law is entitled to paid sick leave under the SPSL 2022 law.  Full-time employees are entitled to up to 80 hours of paid time off, split into two buckets of 40 hours. 

Employees may take paid time off from Bucket A if they make an oral or written request for any of the following reasons:  

  • The employee is subject to or is caring for a family member who is subject to a government or local health department quarantine or isolation period related to COVID-19.
  • The employee has been advised or is caring for a family member who has been advised by a health care provider to isolate or quarantine due to COVID-19.
  • The 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 employee is experiencing symptoms, or caring for a family member experiencing symptoms, related to a COVID-19 vaccine or vaccine booster that prevent the employee from being able to work or telework
  • The employee is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and seeking a medical diagnosis.
  • The 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.

Bucket B provides up to 40 hours of paid time off if they make an oral or written request for leave because the employee tests positive for COVID-19 or the employee is caring for a family member who tests positive for COVID-19. 

Employers can limit paid time off related to a COVID-19 vaccine or booster shot to three days or 24 hours. This includes time spent attending an appointment and/or for COVID-19 vaccine or booster shot-related symptoms (for each vaccine/booster).  If a health care provider verifies that an individual continues to experience symptoms related to the vaccine/booster, more than three days or 24 hours of time off may be available. 

Employers are not required to pay more than $511 per day or $5,110 in the aggregate in paid sick leave. For exempt employees, the SPSL 2022 leave pay rate is calculated in the same manner wages are calculated for other forms of paid leave time.  There are two pay-rate calculation options available for non-exempt employees.  SPSL 2022 for non-exempt employees is calculated either:

  • In the same manner as the regular rate of pay for the workweek in which the employee uses the paid leave; or
  • By dividing the employee’s total wages (not including overtime premium pay) by the employee’s total non-overtime hours worked in the full pay periods occurring within the prior 90 days of employment.  For non-exempt employees paid by piece rate, commission or other method that uses all hours to determine regular rate of pay, total wages (not including overtime premium pay) shall be divided by all hours, to determine the correct rate for paid leave.

Employers are prohibited from requiring employees to exhaust other paid leave benefits before taking SPSL 2022, such as vacation, PTO, or California’s general paid sick leave law. The law does provide employers with the possibility of offsetting SPSL 2022 with certain supplemental paid leave provided to employees on or after January 1, 2022.  If an employer pays an employee another benefit for leave taken on or after January 1 that is payable for the law’s covered reasons and compensates employees in an amount equal to or greater than the amount of pay the law requires, an employer may count those hours toward the number of hours of SPSL 2022 it must provide an employee.

There is also an itemized wage statement requirement under the new law.  Employers are required to put the amount of used paid sick leave on employees’ paystubs.

Minami Tamaki will continue to monitor and provide insights with respect to this new law and other COVID-19 related topics.  This article is meant to provide an overview of California Supplemental Paid Leave requirements related to COVID-19, and is not a comprehensive list of all changes in the law. 

For more information on COVID-19 regulations and developments, you may contact Minami Tamaki Coronavirus (COVID-19) Task Force members Sean Tamura-Sato and Lisa Mak, online or call us at 415-788-9000.

*The content of this article is for general informational purposes only and does not constitute legal or medical advice. Information in this article may not constitute the most complete or up-to-date legal or other information. Readers should contact a licensed California attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular legal matter. Use of this website does not create an attorney-client relationship between the reader and Minami Tamaki LLP.

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