This Friday’s Five focuses on five California employment related news items that got my attention this week:

1. California considering reinstating COVID paid sick leave in 2022.

As California’s supplemental paid sick leave expired in September 2021, and Governor Newsom decided not to extend it by executive order.  Now there are discussions of bringing COVID paid sick leave back, but there are still many questions about what this would look like, and who would be paying for it.  LA Democratic Assembly-member Wendy Carrillo is reported as intending to introduce a bill to provide for paid sick leave and will propose that the state use budget surplus money to pay for it.  Employers will have to watch to see how this issue develops.

Just as a reminder, California employers are currently required to pay for “exclusion pay” under the Cal/OSHA ETS which is, for the time being, in place until at least mid-April of 2022.

2. Employers still facing labor shortages and raising wages in 2022.

KTLA reports that “employees got about a 2.8% salary bump last year. At the beginning of 2022, companies were considering about a 3% raise, but are now looking at about 3.4%.”

3. California appellate court permits family member’s lawsuit to proceed against employer for injuries from employee allegedly bringing COVID-19 home from the workplace.

As set forth by the court, “Plaintiffs allege that Mrs. Ek, defendants’ employee, contracted COVID-19 at work because of defendants’ failure to implement adequate safety measures. They claim that Mr. Ek subsequently caught the disease from Mrs. Ek while she convalesced at home. He died from the disease a month later.” The court rejected defendant’s argument that the case was barred under the Workers’ Compensation Act derivative injury doctrine and will permit the lawsuit to proceed.  See’s Candies, Inc., et al. v. Superior Court of Los Angeles (Matilde Ek et al.)

4. 5 things to know about ordering free COVID tests (LA Times).

The LA Times provides some insights into the free COVID tests: the process is simple, plan ahead, and don’t just take the test for kicks.

5. CalSavers program is rolling out to smaller employers in 2022, and California has begun to issue citations for large employers who have not already complied.

California employers are required to register for the CalSavers retirement savings program.  Employers with over 100 employees were required to register by September 30, 2020, employers with more than 50 employees were required to register by June 30, 2021, and employers 5 or more employees must register by June 30, 2021.  The state has begun to issue citations, which start at $250 per employee, and can increase to $500 per employee.