California Enacts New Covid-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave

On March 19, 2021, Governor Newsom signed SB 95 into law that dramatically extends and expands the requirement for employers to provide Supplemental Paid Sick Leave to employees impacted by Covid-19 that is set to take effect this Monday, March 29, 2021, and is set to expire on September 30, 2021.

To provide some background, last year Governor Newsom issued an Executive Order that provided supplemental Paid sick leave for certain food sectors which was later extended to apply to all hiring entities (regardless of industry) that employed 500 or more employees in the United States that expired on December 31, 2020. However, in response to labor advocates, Governor Newsom has extended and expanded the Supplemental Paid Sick Leave requirement with some notable changes.

Beginning March 29, 2021, employers with 25 or more employees (previously applied to employers with 500 or more employees) will be required to provide up to 80 hours of paid Covid-19 related. The qualifying reasons for this Supplemental Paid Sick Leave are as follow:

  1. The employee “is subject to a quarantine or isolation period related to Covid-19” as defined by an order or guidelines of the California Department of Public Health, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “or a local health officer who has jurisdiction over the workplace.”
  2. A health care provider has advised an employee to self-quarantine because of COVID-19–related concerns.
  3. The employee “is attending an appointment to receive” a COVID-19 vaccine.
  4. The employee or “is experiencing symptoms related to a COVID-19 vaccine that prevents the employee from being able to work or telework.”
  5. The employee is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and is seeking a medical diagnosis.
  6. “The covered employee is caring for a family member … who is subject to an order or guidelines described” in qualifying reason (1), or who a health care provider has advised to self-quarantine, as described in qualifying reason (2).
  7. 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.”

While this Supplemental Paid Sick Leave must be separate from the mandated California Paid Sick Leave, employers who already provided Covid-19 specific sick time for leave taken after January 1, 2021, that is available for the same reasons and paid at the same rate (i.e., FFCRA) may count those hours towards the Supplemental Paid Sick Leave obligation.

Additionally, this new law throws in an additional wrench for employers, as SB 95’s Supplemental Paid Sick Leave requirement will apply retroactively to January 1, 2021, making compliance tricky! As this new law takes effect Monday, you should immediately contact the Employer Lawyers at Chauvel & Glatt to properly implement the provisions of this law and determine how SB 95 will interact with other Covid-19 laws and your existing Paid Sick Leave Policy.

 

This material in this article, provided by Chauvel & Glatt, is designed to provide informative and current information as of the date of the post. It should not be considered, nor is it intended to constitute legal advice.  For information on your particular circumstances, please contact Chauvel & Glatt at 650-573-9500.

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