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California implements new 2022 COVID-19 supplemental Paid Sick Leave Law

3/2/22

By: Mandy D. Hexom 

On February 9, 2022, California’s Governor signed Senate Bill 114 into law requiring employers with 26 or more employees (and some public entities) to provide up to 80 hours of supplemental paid sick leave for certain COVID-19 related reasons. This new law, known as California’s 2022 COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave Law (“CSPSL”), Labor Code 248.6, takes effect immediately, is retroactive to January 1, 2022, and will be effective through September 30, 2022. 

Covered employers must provide the CSPSL to employees retroactively back to January 1, 2022, but must comply with its other requirements and provide notice to its employees beginning on February 19, 2022. In other words, for any leave that qualifies under CSPSL, upon oral or written request of the employee: (i) if the employee was not previously paid, the employer shall provide the employee with retroactive payment greater than or equal than the amount of compensation for CSPSL on or before the next full pay period after the oral or written request of the employee; and (ii) if the employee was paid during the leave, upon an oral or written request of the employee, the employee shall be credited for any leave hours used for COVID-specific leave purposes. 

The CSPSL permits employees to use paid leave if they are unable to work or telework for the following reasons related to their own health or that of a family member requiring their care: 

  • Quarantine or isolation requirement by a health care provider or other federal, state, local order or other guidance; 
  • Appointment for a COVID-19 vaccine or booster; 
  • Experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and seeking a medical diagnosis; 
  • Caring for a child whose school is closed or unavailable for COVID-19 reasons; or 
  • Testing positive for COVID-19. 

The CSPSL breaks up sick leave hours into two required banks: 

  1. Up to 40 hours for the reasons set forth above; and 
  1. Up to 40 additional hours for an employee who is unable to work or telework because the employee tested positive for COVID-19 or needs to care for a family member who tested positive for COVID-19. 

Employees can determine how many supplemental sick leaves they need to use without employer input. Furthermore, employees can select which leave benefit they use to cover an absence related to COVID-19, and can take the leave by requesting it orally or in writing. Documentation is only required to take leave under the CSPSL when an employee or family member tests positive for COVID-19. Furthermore, this new sick leave benefit is in addition to any benefits provided under California’s Healthy Workplace Healthy Family Act (“HWHFA”). 

This new law is similar to Senate Bill 95, which was in effect from March 2021 to September 2021. There are differences and several nuances with the CSPSL depending on the employees’ full-time or part-time status and there are certain requirements related to the rate of pay to use when leave is used. In addition, employers must document the hours available on paystubs or other written notices, and comply with applicable posting and notification requirements. 

Employers should be aware that local paid sick leave ordinances may be in effect depending on the employer’s location, and should therefore check the city’s website. Employers should regularly check the California Labor Commissioner’s Office for regular updates and requirements: https://www.dir.ca.gov/dlse/COVID19resources/ 

For additional information or questions, please contact Mandy D. Hexom at [email protected] or your FMG attorney.