California Passes COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave Law

Labor and Employment Alert

On February 9, 2022, Governor Newsom signed legislation to revive the COVID-19 supplemental paid sick leave (SPSL) for California employees. SPSL applies to all employers with more than 25 employees and will be retroactive to January 1, 2022. The provision will expire on September 30, 2022. This alert summarizes the key features of the SPSL law.

Reasons Available for Supplemental Paid Sick Leave

An employer is required to provide paid sick leave for covered employees. A “covered employee” is defined as any employee who is unable to work or telework because he or she is:

  • Subject to a quarantine or isolation period related to COVID-19 as defined by the State Department of Public Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or a local public health officer who has jurisdiction over the workplace;
  • Advised by a health care provider to isolate or quarantine due to COVID-19;
  • Attending an appointment for themselves or a family member to receive a vaccine or a vaccine booster for protection against COVID-19;
  • Experiencing symptoms, or caring for a family member experiencing symptoms, related to a COVID-19 vaccine or booster that prevents the employee from being able to work or telework;
  • Experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and seeking a medical diagnosis;
  • Caring for a family member who is subject to an isolation or quarantine period as described above or who has been advised to isolate or quarantine by a healthcare provider; or
  • Caring for a child whose school or place of care is closed or otherwise unavailable for reasons related to COVID-19.

Amount of Leave

A full-time employee is entitled to 40 hours of paid leave. A part-time employee who has a regular schedule is entitled to paid leave based on the typical hours he or she works in a one-week period. A part-time employee who works a variable number of hours is entitled paid leave based on an average of his or her hours. 

An employee is entitled to additional leave, not more than 40 hours, if the employee or family member for whom the employee is providing care tests positive for COVID-19. The maximum potential amount of SPSL an employee can receive is 80 hours: (1) up to 40 hours if an employee tests positive or is caring for a family member who tests positive for COVID-19 and (2) up to another 40 hours for other covered reasons such as quarantine, experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, etc.

Vaccination Leave

For each vaccination or vaccine booster, an employer may limit the total SPSL to 3 days or 24 hours unless the employee provides verification from a health care provider that he or she or their family member is continuing to experience symptoms related to a COVID-19 vaccine or vaccine booster. 

SPSL Cannot be Substituted for Other Paid Leave

An employer cannot require a covered employee to use any other paid or unpaid leave, paid time off, or vacation time before using SPSL or in lieu of SPSL.

Additional Requirements

An employer must list the amount of SPSL that the employee has used on either the employee’s itemized wage statement or in a separate writing provided on the designated pay date. The law further requires that the California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement prepare a notice that employers must post in the workplace. An employer may email the notice to employees who do not visit the workplace on a regular basis. 

If you have questions about this or any other workforce issue, please do not hesitate to contact your relationship attorney or one of Honigman’s Labor & Employment attorneys.

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