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California Extends Emergency COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave for 3 More Months

The most recent extension expires on December 31, 2022.
October 10, 2022
California Extends Emergency COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave for 3 More Months

California Extends Emergency COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave for 3 More Months

Back in September 2020, California passed a law requiring employers in California with 26 or more employees nationwide to provide up to 80 hours of emergency COVID-19 supplemental paid sick leave (“SPSL”) to employees in California to use for certain qualifying events relating to COVID-19. This law was renewed in March 2021, again in February 2022, and most recently extended on September 29, 2022 when Governor Newsom signed Assembly Bill 152. The most recent extension expires on December 31, 2022, and future extensions are possible so long as the pandemic continues. While the February 2022 extension of the law gave employees a brand-new balance of up to 80 SPSL hours to use, the extension passed on September 29 does not refresh the balance; thus, employees are only getting additional time in which they can claim SPSL hours to use for COVID-19 qualifying events.

The law allows employees in California, who work for employers with 26 or more employees nationwide, to use up to 80 hours of SPSL, separated into two categories or buckets of 40 hours each, and each bucket is reserved for certain COVID-19 qualifying uses. The qualifying uses are described in the state’s FAQs about the law.

Full-time California employees are automatically entitled to 40 hours of SPSL in each of the two buckets of SPSL (for a total of 80 hours). Part-time variable hours employees receive a SPSL balance that is based on an average over a look back period, up to a maximum of 40 hours of SPSL in each of the two buckets.

If the employee is able to telework during any of the qualifying events, then such employee is not entitled to SPSL. SPSL caps at $511 per day or $5110 in total. Unused SPSL is not paid out upon the end of employment. Employers must also post a notice at its California worksites which describes employees’ rights under the law. If employees do not frequent a workplace, then the notice can be disseminated electronically to employees. The state’s model notice is available here. The number of SPSL hours used by each employee year-to-date must also be printed on the employee’s paystub.

The law provides that if an employee tests positive for COVID-19, the employer may require the employee to take a subsequent COVID-19 diagnostic test on or after the fifth day after the original positive test was taken and provide documentation of the test results to the employer. The new September 29 extension added an amendment that, if the diagnostic test described above is also positive, then the employer may require the employee to take another diagnostic test within no less than 24 hours of the previous test. Such tests taken at the direction of the employer must be at no cost to the employee, and employers should pay employees for their time to get tested as work time.

Lastly, the September 29 extension created a new program available only to small employers with between 26 and 49 employees. Under the program, employers can apply for grants from the state to cover the actual cost of SPSL paid in calendar year 2022 to California employees, up to a maximum grant of $50,000.

For any questions about this Alert, you may contact:

Alan Wu, Director, Employment & Labor Relations Counsel | awu@ep.com

Pantea Lili Ahmadi, Director, Corporate & Employment Counsel | pahamadi@ep.com

Topic: Alerts

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