California COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave Returns for 2022
Director of Compliance
On February 9, 2022, California enacted Senate Bill 114, bringing back COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave (“SPSL”) for California public and private employers with more than 25 employees. The new SPSL grants leave to employees who cannot work or telework because of reasons related to COVID-19 and replaces last year’s COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave law, which expired September 30, 2021. Although the new SPSL took effect February 19, 2022, it applies retroactively to January 1, 2022, and remains effective until September 30, 2022.
2022 SPSL provides two leave banks for workers. The first bank holds a maximum of 40 hours if a full-time employee or a family member the employee is caring for tests positive for COVID-19. The second is a 40-hour bank allocated for other covered reasons. Employees who work part-time are entitled to a prorated amount of SPSL based on their type of schedule.
Here are the additional covered reasons for SPSL:
Quarantine or Isolation
The employee is subject to a COVID-19 quarantine or isolation period as defined by order or guideline of the State Department of Public Health, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or a local health officer with jurisdiction over the workplace.
A health care provider advises the employee to quarantine or isolate because of COVID-19 concerns.
The employee is attending a vaccination appointment for themselves or a family member to receive a vaccine or vaccine booster against contracting COVID-19. Generally, employers may limit leave for this reason to three days or 24 hours unless a health care provider gives a verification for additional time off.
The employee has symptoms related to a COVID-19 vaccination or booster or is caring for a family member with such symptoms, preventing the employee from working or teleworking.
Seeking Medical Diagnosis
The employee is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and is seeking a medical diagnosis.
Caring for a Family Member
The employee is caring for a family member subject to a COVID-19 order or guideline or advised to isolate or quarantine.
School or Place of Care Closure
The employee is caring for a child whose school or place of care has closed or is otherwise unavailable for reasons related to COVID-19 on the premises.
Employers that paid for COVID-19 related absences after January 1, 2022, but before February 19, 2022, will be able to credit these payments to their 2022 SPSL obligation if the leave was for a covered reason. Additionally, employers must display on paystubs (or other written notices employees receive on payday) the amount of SPSL the employee has used through the pay period in which it was due.
California employers with more than 25 employees should update their sick-leave policies and wage statements to ensure compliance with the 2022 SPSL. The California Labor Commissioner’s Office also issued a new notice that covered employers are required to conspicuously post on premises and distribute by email to employees who do not frequent a physical workplace.
Finally, since federal, state, and local COVID-related leave laws around the country seem to be constantly changing, multi-state employers should seek legal counsel if they have any compliance-related concerns.
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