[Update: On February 9, 2022, the Governor signed SB 114 into law – see our updated article here on the new California supplemental paid sick leave requirements enacted by this law].

This week, Assembly Bill 84 (AB 84) was published setting forth the parameters of a proposed law for another COVID-19 supplemental paid sick leave requirement for California employers in 2022.  The Governor and legislature announced last month that they were discussing the framework of the law.  AB 84 gives employers some guidance on the likely COVID-19 supplemental paid sick leave law that will be implemented in the near future.  Here are five key issues California employers should know about the proposed legislation:

1. When will the new COVID-19 supplemental paid sick leave law take effect?

Currently the law has not been enacted, so there are no obligations for employers yet.  However, once the final law is passed and signed by the Governor, it will take effect upon the Governor’s signature.  The law provides that the paid sick leave requirement takes effect 10 days after the enactment of the law and would create a retro-active obligation for employers to pay for qualifying paid sick leave starting January 1, 2022.  The paid sick leave requirement would expire on September 30, 2022.  Given how quickly this new law will likely make its way through the legislature, employers are encouraged to start planning for compliance as soon as possible.

2. Which employers would be covered by the law?

The law would apply to employers with more than 25 employees.

3. Which employees are entitled to paid sick leave?

Employers are required to provide employees COVID-19 supplemental paid sick leave if the employee is unable to work or telework due to the following reasons:

  1. The employee is subject to a quarantine or isolation period related to COVID-19 as defined by an order or guidance of the State Department of Public Health, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or a local public health officer who has jurisdiction over the workplace.
  2. The employee has been advised by a health care provider to isolate or quarantine due to COVID-19.
  3. The employee is attending an appointment for themselves or a family member to receive a vaccine or a vaccine booster for protection against COVID-19, subject to certain limitations.
  4. The employee is experiencing symptoms, or caring for a family member experiencing symptoms, related to a COVID-19 vaccine or vaccine booster that prevents the employee from being able to work or telework.
  5. The employee is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and seeking a medical diagnosis.
  6. The employee is caring for a family member who is subject to an order or guidance or who has been advised to isolate or quarantine.
  7. The employee is caring for a child whose school or place of case is closed or otherwise unavailable for reasons related to COVID-19 on the premises.
  8. If the employee, or a family member for whom the employee is providing care, tests positive for COVID-19. (Note: employer may condition payment of supplemental paid sick leave for this reason upon the employee providing a positive test for themselves or the family member they are caring for.)

4. How much paid leave is required?

Employees are entitled to 40 hours of COVID-19 supplemental paid sick leave for full time employees based on reasons 1 through 7 above.  Part-time employees are entitled to a proportional amount based on how many hours they normally work.  Full-time employees are entitled to an additional 40 hours of paid leave for reason number 8 above (a positive test) and part-time employees are entitled to a proportional amount based on their normal hours.  However, the total paid sick leave is capped at 80 hours for the period between January 1, 2022 to September 30, 2022.  In addition, employers are not required to pay more than $511 per day and $5,110 in the aggregate to an employee (unless federal legislation changes these amounts set forth in the FFCRA).  Moreover, employers cannot require employees to first exhaust the supplemental paid sick leave before paying exclusion leave required under the Cal/OSHA Emergency Temporary Standards (ETS).

5. What are employers notice and pay stub requirements?

The law would require employers to provide a notice to employees the amount of COVID-19 supplemental paid sick leave that the employee has used through the pay period that it was due to be paid.  This can be provided on the employee’s pay stub or on another writing provided to the employee on the designated pay day.  The employer shall list “zero hours used” if a worker has not used any COVID-19 supplemental paid sick leave.  This requirement would take effect in the next full pay period following the date the law becomes effective.

Employers will also be required to post or distribute a notice to employees that would be developed by the Labor Commissioner.