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February 17th, 2022
COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave Returns to California
Starting February 19, 2022, California employers will once again have to provide employees with COVID-19 supplemental paid sick leave (“CSPSL”). Below are the key highlights of the new law.
Who is a Covered Employer? Any business in the state that employs more than 25 people.
Who is a Covered Employee? A person is considered a “Covered Employee” and eligible for CSPSL if:
- The employee is subject to a quarantine or isolation period related to COVID-19 as directed by either a governmental agency or health care provider, or is caring for a family member subject to such an order;
- The employee is attending an appointment either for itself or a family member to receive either a COVID-19 vaccination or booster;
- The employee is experiencing symptoms, or caring for a family member experiencing symptoms, related to a COVID-19 vaccination or booster;
- The employee is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and is seeking a medical diagnosis; and
- The employee is caring for a child whose school or daycare is closed or “otherwise unavailable” for reasons related to COVID-19.
How Much Leave is Available? Full time “Covered Employees” are entitled to 40 hours of CSPSL. Covered Employees can be eligible to receive an additional 40 hours of CSPSL if they test positive for COVID-19 subsequent to their first leave. In this scenario, employers may require the employee to take (at no cost to the employee) and provide results of a “diagnostic test” 5 days after their first positive COVID-19 test. If a Covered Employee is requesting the second tranche of CSPSL to care for a family member who has tested positive for COVID-19, the employer may require the employee to provide documentation of the family member’s test results before paying the additional leave. Leaves taken to attend a vaccination or booster appointment can be limited to 3 days (or 24 hours) absent a showing of COVID-19 symptoms developing from the vaccination or booster. Similar to the previous CSPSL that expired on September 30, 2021, the amount of paid leave is capped at $511 per day or $5110 in the aggregate.
Can Other Forms of Leave be Used? Yes, but the employer cannot require that the Covered Employee use other forms of leave, such as vacation or other PTO. Rather, the Covered Employee must voluntarily choose to use these types of leave for COVID-19 related reasons prior to, or in lieu of, taking CSPSL.
Does CSPSL Have to be Reported on Wage Statements? Yes, and it must be reported separately from other paid sick days. However, rather than reporting how many days of CSPSL are available, the wage statement need only show how many days of CSPSL have been used through the applicable pay period.
When Can Employees Start Taking CSPSL? Although the law does not go into effect until February 19, 2022, it is retroactive to January 1, 2022. This means that any unpaid leave a Covered Employee took between January 1, 2022, and February 19, 2022, must be paid on or before the next pay period after the Covered Employee requests it either orally or in writing. For any such retroactive payment, the number of hours of leave corresponding to the amount of the payment will count toward the Covered Employee’s potential 80 hours of CSPSL.
How Long are Employers Required to Provide CSPSL? As of right now, this new version of CSPSL is set to expire on September 30, 2022. However, any Covered Employee that is already taking CSPSL as of September 30, 2022, will be permitted to take the maximum amount of leave the Covered Employee “otherwise would have been entitled to.”
If you have questions about COVID-19 supplemental paid sick leave please contact Tricia Legittino at (310) 579-9632 or email@example.com or any other member of the Frankfurt Kurnit Employment Compliance, Training & Litigation Group.
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