California Resurrects COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave for 2022


On February 9, 2022, Governor Newsom signed Senate Bill (SB) 114 which resurrects COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave (the “SPSL”) for 2022.
This version of SPSL took effect February 19, 2022, however, it applies retroactively to January 1, 2022. It expires September 30, 2022. Employers with more than 25 employees are covered.
The following are covered reasons for using SPSL:
  • The employee is subject to a Covid-related quarantine or isolation period.
  • The employee is attending an appointment for themselves or a family member to receive a Covid vaccine or vaccine booster.
  • The employee is experiencing symptoms or caring for a family member experiencing symptoms, related to a COVID-19 vaccine or vaccine booster that prevents the employee from being able to work or telework.
  • The employee has symptoms of COVID-19 and is seeking a medical diagnosis.
  • The employee is caring for a family member who is subject to an order or guidance or who has been advised to isolate or quarantine.
  • 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.
SPSL benefits:
  • A full-time employee is entitled to 40 hours of SPSL. A part-time employee is entitled to a proportionate number of hours of SPSL based on the type of schedule the employee maintains.
  • Both full and part-time employees are entitled to an additional amount of time, equal to their allotment for the reasons detailed above if the employee or family member for whom the employee is caring for tests positive for COVID-19 (e.g., full-time employees are entitled to an additional 40 hours). Employers are permitted to require documentation of the positive test to provide leave for this reason.
  • The maximum amount of SPSL a full-time employee can take during the period from January 1 to September 30, 2022, is 80 hours.
Additional Facts About SPSL:
  • Employers may limit the leave for symptoms for each vaccination or booster to 3 days or 24 hours unless the employee provides verification from a health care provider that the employee (or their family member) is continuing to experience adverse symptoms.
  • Employers must provide employees with written notice that sets forth the amount of SPSL the employee has used through the pay period in which it was due on either the employee’s itemized wage statement or in a separate writing provided on the designated pay date. The employer shall list zero hours used if a worker has not used any SPSL.
  • Employers are required to post a notice to be developed by the Labor Commissioner about this new SPSL benefit. A copy of the notice can be found here. If an employer’s covered employees do not frequent a workplace, the employer may satisfy this requirement by disseminating the notice through electronic means, such as e-mail.
  • Non-exempt employees shall be compensated based on one of the following: (1) calculated in the same manner as the regular rate of pay for the workweek in which the employees uses SPSL; or (2) calculated by dividing the total wages, not including overtime premium pay, by the total hours worked, in the full pay periods of the prior 90 days worked.
  • The maximum amount an employer can be required to pay for SPSL: not more than $511 per day and $5,110.00 in aggregate.
Learn More

California Court Allows Covid-19 Claim of Non-Employee Catching Virus from Employee to Move Forward

Just before Christmas, a California appeals court gave the green light to a wrongful death lawsuit claiming that an employee brought Covid-19 home from work and infected a family member, who subsequently died.

The employer, See’s Candy, had asked the courts to shut the case down because the claim falls under the exclusive remedy of the California Workers’ Compensation Act (WCA). Under the WCA, employees who suffer illness from the workplace are entitled to compensation without needing to sue the employer in court. Since early in the Covid-19 pandemic, it has been clear that employees who link their own Covid-19 infection to their job get WCA benefits.

The courts refused to dismiss the case, reasoning that WCA benefits do not extend to injuries or illness by non-employees, and so they are not prohibited from pursuing the employer in civil court.

Importantly, the family still faces several hurdles, including establishing that the employer owed a “duty of care”* to the employee’s relative (a question not answered in the See’s Candy opinion), that the employer breached such a “duty of care,” and, perhaps most difficult, that the employer was the source of the deceased relative’s infection.

Employers’ best takeaway from this case is to ensure your practices align with all state and federal government and OSHA mandates (such as those discussed above). This will not only reduce the spread of infection, but may be valuable evidence, if you are confronted with such a case, to prove you did not act unreasonably.

*Deepest apologies for the unavoidable legalese.

Learn More

What California Employers Need to Know About Current State and Federal COVID-19 Vaccine/Testing Regulations

Sadly, COVID-19 remains with us. In an ongoing effort to control the spread of the virus, our state and federal governments continue to push forward regulations and policies guaranteed to impact the workplace. Here are some important developments:

School Workers Must Prove Vaccination or Weekly COVID-19 Testing

On August 11, 2021, the state of California ordered all workers in public and private K-12 schools to show proof of vaccination. Workers unable to show proof of vaccination must undergo weekly PCR or antigen testing for COVID-19. Schools with unvaccinated workers should develop a plan to track testing results and conduct contact tracing. Results must be submitted to local public health departments. Covered schools have until October 15, 2021 to comply with requirements.

Nursing Homes Mandate Staff Vaccinations or Face Federal Funding Loss

On August 18, 2021, President Biden directed the Department of Health and Human Services to require nursing homes to require all employees be vaccinated against COVID-19 or face possible loss of Medicare and Medicaid funding. There is presently no deadline for compliance. However, any California nursing home that has not already mandated employee vaccination in compliance with the California Department of Public Health’s August 5th order that all health care workers to be vaccinated by September 30, 2021, should ensure compliance.

California Legislature Contemplates Statewide Workplace Vaccine Mandate

Rumors out of Sacramento suggest the California legislature is contemplating a statewide mandate that all employers require employees in every industry to be vaccinated against COVID-19 or undergo weekly testing. If such legislation comes to fruition, California would lead the nation in workplace vaccine mandates.
Importantly, there is no draft bill and any legislation would need to clear hurdles, including possible resistance from business interests, and may hinge on the outcome of the election to recall Gov. Newsom.

Cal/OSHA Encourages Masking Indoors Regardless of Vaccination Status

In an August 25th press release, Cal/OSHA said, “as a best practice, Cal/OSHA encourages employers and workers to follow the recent update from the [California Department of Public Health] recommending that all individuals wear face coverings while indoors regardless of vaccination status.”
This is a recommendation only and the election by employers not to require vaccinated workers to wear masks will not expose them to Cal/OSHA penalties. This could change and we will continue to monitor the situation. Additionally, a California Department of Public Health Guidance published on July 28, 2021, requires masks “for unvaccinated individuals in indoor public settings and businesses (examples: retail, restaurants, theaters, family entertainment centers, meetings, state and local government offices serving the public).” Exceptions to this broad mandate apply.
Learn More

Los Angeles County Requires Employers to Provide Paid Leave for Employees to Get Vaccinated

On May 18th, Los Angeles County passed an emergency ordinance requiring employers within unincorporated areas of the county to provide employees with up to 4 hours of paid leave (in addition to ordinary Paid Sick Leave and the state-wide Covid-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave (SPSL) which took effect in March, 2021.

This applies to all employers, regardless of size of workforce. Full-time employees are defined as either those designated by the employer as full-time, or who were scheduled to work on average at least 40 hours per week in the two weeks preceding the leave. Again, these employees are entitled to take up to 4 hours of paid leave for each vaccination injection.

Part-time employees are entitled to a prorated portion of additional paid leave for vaccination. For example, a part-time employee who worked 20 hours in the two weeks preceding the leave are entitled to just 2 hours of additional vaccination leave.

Additional details:

  • This leave is only available to employees who have fully exhausted all California Paid Sick Leave and SPSL;
  • Employers can request written verification of Covid-19 vaccination;
  • Employees receive their normal rate of pay for this leave, which may be calculated by using the employee’s highest average two-week pay from January 1 – May 18, 2021.
  • Covered employers must “conspicuously display” a written notice of this ordinance; and
  • Covered employers must maintain records demonstrating compliance with this ordinance for four (4) years; failure to provide these records creates a presumption of noncompliance.
Learn More

Follow this blog

Get every new post delivered right to your inbox.

Email address