As written about previously, Governor Newsom signed new legislation on March 19, 2021 requiring California employers to provide COVID-19 supplemental paid sick leave. California employers were required to provide California COVID-19 supplemental paid sick leave under an old law passed in 2020 that expired on December 31, 2020. There are a few key differences between the old requirements and the new 2021 COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave just enacted, and California employers need to beware of these new requirements. Below are a few of the new key provisions of the 2021 COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave:
2021 COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave Requirements Apply to California Employers With More than 25 Employees.
The new 2021 COVID-19 supplemental paid sick leave requirements apply to employers with more than 25 employees. The old California supplemental paid sick leave law applied to employers with 500 or more employees.
Expanded List of Covered Reasons.
|Old COVID-19 SPSL – Qualifying Reasons for employees unable to work due to any of the following reasons:||New 2021 COVID-19 SPSL – Qualifying Reasons for employees unable to work or telework due to any of the following reasons:|
|1. The covered worker is subject to a federal, state, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19.||1. The covered employee is subject to a quarantine or isolation period related to COVID-19 as defined by an order or guidelines of the State Department of Public Health, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or a local health officer who has jurisdiction over the workplace. If the covered employee is subject to more than one of the foregoing, the covered employee shall be permitted to use COVID-19 supplemental paid sick leave for the minimum quarantine or isolation period under the order or guidelines that provides for the longest such minimum period.|
|2. The covered worker is advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine or self-isolate due to concerns related to COVID-19.||2. The covered employee has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID-19.|
|3. The covered worker is prohibited from working by the covered worker’s hiring entity due to health concerns related to the potential transmission of COVID-19.||3. The covered employee is attending an appointment to receive a vaccine for protection against contracting COVID-19.|
|4. The covered employee is experiencing symptoms related to a COVID-19 vaccine that prevent the employee from being able to work or telework.|
|5. The covered employee is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and seeking a medical diagnosis.|
|6. The covered employee is caring for a family member who is subject to an order or guidelines or who has been advised to self-quarantine.|
|7. The covered employee is caring for a child, whose school or place of care is closed or otherwise unavailable for reasons related to COVID-19 on the premises.|
Applies Retroactively to January 1, 2021.
The new law applies retroactively to January 1, 2021. The Labor Commissioner’s FAQs explains:
The requirement to provide “retroactive” 2021 COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave does not start until March 29, 2021. This “retroactive” payment is only required if the covered employee makes an oral or written request to be paid for leave that qualifies (as described above).
For example, if a covered employee had to take two hours off for a vaccine appointment on February 15, 2021, the employee can make an oral or written request to the employer to be paid for that time off in February, since it is a qualifying reason for taking 2021 COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave. The oral or written request must be made on or after March 29, 2021. A request made before March 29 does not count. If an employee is unable to make the request themselves or has difficulty locating an employer to provide proper notice, they may contact the Labor Commissioner’s Office, which may be able to provide assistance.
After the employee makes the request, the employer will have until the payday for the next full pay period to pay the “retroactive” 2021 COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave. On that payday, the employer must also provide accurate notice on the itemized wage statement of how many 2021 COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick leave hours remain available to the covered employee.
Employers Must Post New Poster.
The Labor Commissioner published the new 2021 COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave required notice on its website. Employers are required to post this notice in a location where employees can easily read it. If employees do not visit a physical location, employers may distribute it electronically.