On Wednesday, February 9th, Governor Gavin Newsom signed Senate Bill 114, providing additional COVID-19 supplemental paid sick leave for covered employees unable to work or telework due to certain reasons related to COVID-19.
Who is subject?
Employers with 26 or more employees are subject to this new legislation. Small employers with 25 or fewer workers are exempt.
When will it take effect?
The law will take effect on February 19th, 2022, ten days after the bill was signed. It will be retroactive to January 1st, 2022, and will remain in effect through September 30th, 2022.
Who is eligible?
Covered employees include those working full-time, or those that are scheduled to work an average of 40 hours per week in the 2 weeks preceding the date the covered employee took COVID-19 supplemental paid sick leave.
Employees who do not work 40 hours per week are entitled to COVID-19 supplemental paid sick leave equal to the total number of hours the employee is normally scheduled to work over one week. Employees who work variable hours are entitled to seven times the average number of hours worked per day over a six-month lookback period preceding the date the covered employee took COVID-19 supplemental paid sick leave.
What is the duration of, and the qualifying reasons for, the additional leave?
Covered employees are now entitled to two separate 40 hour allotments of supplemental paid sick leave.
A covered employee may take up to 40 hours of COVID-19 paid sick leave if they are unable to work or telework due to one or more of the following reasons:
- The covered employee is subject to a quarantine or isolation period related to COVID-19 as defined by federal, state or local orders
- The covered employee is advised by a healthcare provider to self-quarantine or isolate due to COVID-19 related concerns
- The covered employee is attending an appointment for themselves or a family member to receive a COVID-19 vaccine or vaccine booster (employers may limit the supplemental paid sick leave to 3 days (or 24 hours) unless the covered employee provides verification from a healthcare provider that the employee or family member is continuing to experience symptoms related to the vaccine or vaccine booster)
- The covered employee is experiencing symptoms, or caring for a family member experiencing symptoms, related to a COVID-19 vaccine or vaccine booster
- The covered employee is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and is seeking a medical diagnosis
- The covered employee is caring for a child whose school or place of care is closed or otherwise unavailable due to COVID-19
A covered employee may take up to an additional 40 hours of COVID-19 paid sick leave if they or a family member tests positive for COVID-19.
Employers are authorized to require the covered employee to take another test on the fifth day after the first positive test and provide documentation of the results. Employers are also authorized to require the covered employee to provide documentation of a family member’s positive test result before paying the COVID-19 paid sick leave. If the covered employee refuses to provide documentation as requested, the employer is not obligated to provide the additional COVID-19 paid sick leave. Employers are required to make a test available at no cost to the covered employee.
What is the rate of pay?
A covered employee is to be compensated for each hour of COVID-19 paid sick leave at their regular rate of pay, not to exceed $511 per day, or $5,110 in aggregate. An employer cannot require a covered employee to use any other paid or unpaid leave, time off, or vacation time prior to or in lieu of the COVID-19 paid sick leave.
The legislation does not provide any direct tax or financial relief to employers for providing the additional COVID-19 paid sick leave. As such, there is no mechanism in place for employers to recoup any pay amounts associated with the additional COVID-19 paid sick leave.