February 9, 2022

California COVID-19 SPSL Update

COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave (SPSL)

The revival of SPSL in the Golden State is official as SPSL (SB 114) was approved by lawmakers on Monday, and was signed into law by Gavin Newsom today! The law is set to take effect 10 days after the date the bill was signed (February 19, 2022) and will be retroactive to January 1, 2022. The original law expired at the end of September 2021. The new law will provide two 40 hour banks of SPSL as detailed in the reasons below.

Here are the finalized details of the law (this law is more complex than the original and we are hoping that the state provides more guidance and further FAQs):

  • Applies to employers with 26 or more employees.
  • Provides up to 40 hours of SPSL to employees who are unable to work or telework due to the following reasons:
    • The employee is subject to quarantine or isolation period related to COVID-19,
    • The employee is caring for a family member who is subject to a quarantine or isolation period related to COVID-19,
    • The employee is attending an appointment for themselves or a family member to receive a vaccine or a vaccine booster (for each vaccination or vaccine booster, employers may limit SPSL to 3 days or 24 hours unless the employee provides verification from a health care provider that the employee or family member is continuing to experience symptoms related to the vaccine or booster)*,The employee is experiencing symptoms, or caring for a family member experiencing symptoms related to the COVID-19 vaccination or vaccine booster,
    • The employee is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and is seeking a medical diagnosis, or
    • The employee who is caring for a child whose school or place of care is closed or otherwise unavailable due to COVID-19.

*There is no language in the law that allows employers to ask employees for documentation to substantiate their need for SPSL other than if they require more than 3 days or 24 hours of SPSL for symptoms related to the vaccine or vaccine booster.

  • Provides up to 40 additional hours** of SPSL for the following reason:
    • The employee or family member tests positive for COVID-19.
      • Employers are authorized to require employees who test positive to submit to another test on or after the 5th day after the first positive test and provide documentation of the test results.
      • Employers are also authorized to require employees to provide documentation of a family member’s test result before paying the additional SPSL.
      • If an employee refuses to provide documentation of a test result, the employer would have no obligation to provide additional SPSL.

**Employees do not need to exhaust the first bank of 40 hours for quarantine, isolation, vaccination, etc. before using the 40 hours for testing positive or caring for a family member who tests positive.

  • Employees who do not work 40 hours per week are entitled to SPSL equal to the total number of hours the employee is normally scheduled to work over one week. Those with varying schedules are entitled to seven times the average number of hours they worked each day over the 6 month period preceding the start of SPSL.
  • Employers may limit SPSL to $511 per day and $5,110 in the aggregate. SPSL cannot be used to offset exclusion pay due to an employee under the Cal/OSHA COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standard.
  • The SPSL provided by this bill does not take into account any prior SPSL or other sick pay provided to employees previously. In other words, it’s a brand new entitlement of SPSL.
  • There is a notice requirement (the Labor Commissioner will create a model notice within seven days of enactment).
  • Will be retroactive to January 1, 2022 and will expire September 30, 2022.

We will share the model notice once it’s released as well as any guidance, FAQs, etc.

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