COVID-19 and State Updates

July 1, 2021

U.S. State Updates

California

Employment Development Department (EDD)

The EDD has released its forecast for the 2022 Disability Insurance (DI) Fund. The DI fund provides State Disability Insurance (SDI) and Paid Family Leave (PFL) benefits for California employees. The 2021 employee contribution rate is projected to remain at 1.2%; the maximum weekly benefit is projected to increase from $1,357 to $1,367; and the taxable wage base, from which DI contributions are taken, is projected to increase from $128,298 to $129,244. The final 2022 DI Fund forecast is expected to be published in late October.

California employers may opt out of the state plan if a private plan, Voluntary Disability Insurance (VDI), is established and certain requirements are met. Two of these requirements are that the employee cost of VDI cannot be more than what the employee would pay for SDI and the benefits paid by VDI must be at least equal to what SDI would pay. For more information about establishing a VDI plan for your company, please contact The Larkin Company.

The Larkin Company will reach out in Q4 to clients for whom we currently administer VDI to assist them in planning for 2022.

Los Angeles

The City of Angels’ COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave (SPSL) order has been revised by Mayor Garcetti. The initial order was issued April 7, 2020 and the revision (found here) is effective as of June 24, 2021. The current order will remain in effect until two calendar weeks after the local COVID-19 emergency period ends.

Changes to note:

  • Applies to employers with 500 or more employees in Los Angeles or 2,000 or more employees nationally.
  • Employees can now use this leave to receive a COVID-19 vaccination. This includes travel time to and from an appointment as well as time to recover from any symptoms related to the vaccine.
  • Employers still cannot require a doctor’s note or other documentation for the use of SPSL; however, employers may request verification of receipt of a COVID-19 vaccine.

An additional order was issued on June 24, 2021 that provides COVID-19 Vaccine Leave (CVL) This order is retroactive to January 1, 2021 and is in effect until September 30, 2021, except that an employee taking CVL at the time of the expiration of the order shall be permitted to take the full amount of CVL. This order applies to ALL employers. CVL is time an employee takes off work related to receiving a COVID-19 vaccination and includes time spent traveling to and from an appointment as well as time to recover from any vaccine-related side effects.

Important details:

  • CVL is in addition to other paid leave available to employees (exception: employees of an employer with more than 25 employees must exhaust California or Los Angeles SPSL before receiving CVL).
  • Employees must work within the geographic boundaries of Los Angeles and have worked with the same employer for 60 days.
  • Full-time employees are eligible for up to 4 hours of leave for each vaccine injection and up to 8 hours to recover from vaccine-related side effects; part-time employees are eligible for up to the prorated amount of 4 hours of CVL per injection (based on their average number of hours worked in the 60 days prior to injection) and up to the prorated amount of 8 hours of CVL to recover any vaccination-related side effects.
  • Employers must grant CVL upon an employee’s oral or written request and may ask for written verification of receipt of a COVID-19 vaccine.
  • Exempt employees are eligible for up to $511 per day (or $255.50 for each 4-hour period) or $1,022 in the aggregate; non-exempt employees are eligible for the highest of the following:
    • The normal rate of pay for the workweek in which leave is taken;
    • The City’s $15 per hour minimum wage; or
    • The average hourly pay for the preceding 60 days (not including overtime).

Rhode Island

As of July 1, 2021, the Rhode Island Temporary Disability Insurance (TDI) maximum weekly benefit will increase to $978 with the dependent allowance increasing to $1,320 (for 5 dependents).

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