California has enacted SB 95, legislation that requires employers with more than 25 employees to provide 80 hours of COVID-19 related supplemental paid sick leave to full time employees. This requirement is in addition to other paid sick leave available to employees. Employers with 25 or fewer employees are not required to provide COVID-19 supplemental paid sick leave. This new law revives the previously expired requirement for many employers to provide supplemental paid sick leave for COVID-19 related reasons to their employees.
Covered part-time employees are also eligible for COVID-19 supplemental paid sick leave, dependent upon their work schedule. A part-time employee working a regular schedule is eligible to receive the total number of hours in supplemental paid sick leave that they were scheduled to work in the two weeks prior to taking leave. A part-time employee working a variable schedule is eligible to receive 14 times the average number of hours worked each day in the 6 months before the leave is taken.
Employers are required to pay up to $511 per day and $5,110 in the aggregate to a covered employee for COVID-19 supplemental paid sick leave.
Employers must provide COVID-19 supplemental paid sick leave to each covered employee if that employee is unable to work or telework due to any of the following reasons:
- The covered employee is subject to a quarantine or isolation period related to COVID-19;
- The covered employee has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID-19;
- The covered employee is attending an appointment to receive a vaccine for protection against contracting COVID-19;
- The covered employee is experiencing symptoms related to a COVID-19 vaccine that prevent the employee from being able to work or telework;
- The covered employee is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and seeking a medical diagnosis;
- The covered employee is caring for a family member who is subject to a quarantine order or isolation period, or who has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID-19; or
- The covered 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.
Written notice is required. Employers must provide notice of the new law to their employees. The Labor Commissioner will provide a model notice for this purpose. Additionally, employers must set forth each covered employee’s available COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave, either on the employee’s wage statement/pay stub, or on a separate writing, each pay day. This notice must be separate from the written notice of the employee’s available regular paid sick leave.
Governor Newsom signed SB 95 into law on March 19, 2021, and it takes effect ten days later on March 29, 2021. The law extends protections through September 30, 2021, and is retroactive to sick leave taken beginning January 1, 2021.
As more and more employees are headed back into the workplace, employers should review their COVID-19 policies, paid sick leave practices, and other employment practices with an employment attorney, to ensure that they are complying with the many requirements to provide a healthy and safe workplace. With the numerous new laws that recently went into effect, many employers simply don’t know what they don’t know. Preemptive, preventative action by employers is critical to avoid Labor Code violations, and the potential for employee lawsuits.
About the Author
Thomas E. Daugherty helps employers avoid disputes with their employees, by providing employment counseling on a wide array of issues, from wage and hour practices to discrimination and retaliation protections. When disputes do arise, he defends employers in litigation in State and federal courts, private arbitrations, and administrative hearings. To contact Mr. Daugherty, please reach him via email or call (619) 239-8131.
This article is intended to be for informational purposes only. This information does not constitute legal advice. The law is constantly changing and the information may not be complete or correct depending on the date of the article and your particular legal problem. The use of information from this article does not create any type of attorney-client relationship.
Klinedinst is the go-to firm for clients looking for litigation, trial experience, transactional representation, and legal counsel. The firm’s offices in Los Angeles, Sacramento, San Diego, Irvine, and Seattle service the West Coast. What sets Klinedinst apart is the relationships our attorneys foster with each and every client. Klinedinst lawyers are indispensable strategic partners to business leaders, helping to achieve objectives and create proactive solutions to resolve the many legal challenges that businesses are confronted with every day. Whether vigorously advocating for clients in court, or guiding business transactions and negotiations, Klinedinst is the trusted legal advisor to have by your side.