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February 2022: California to Bring Back COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave

02 Feb

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Update Applicable to:
All employers with 26 or more employees in the state of California

What happened?
On January 25, 2022, Governor Newsom announced California had reached an agreement to require employers again to provide COVID-19 supplemental paid sick leave (SPSL).

What are the details?
Under the previous SPSL law, California employers with more than 25 employees nationally were required to pay their California employees with up to 80 hours of COVID-19–related paid leave through September 30, 2021.

While the exact details of the new SPSL law have not been finalized, the governor, Senate President pro tempore Toni Atkins, and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon indicated that the new law would again require California employers to provide up to 80 hours of COVID-19–related paid leave through September 30, 2022. It would be retroactive and apply to COVID-19 absences from January 1, 2022.

They also referred to providing sick leave to “frontline workers” but did not specify whether the paid sick leave would be limited to frontline workers or, if so, which employees would qualify as “frontline.”

Below are the key features of the new COVID-19 paid sick leave (PSL) agreement

  1. The law will apply to employers with 26 or more employees. This is similar to the 2021 COVID-19 PSL law.
  1. Full-time employees will be entitled to 40 hours of paid leave due to COVID-19, and an additional 40 hours of paid leave upon showing proof that they (or their family member) have tested positive for COVID-19. Under the 2021 COVID PSL, full-time employees were entitled to up to 80 hours of SPSL.  The framework agreement provides that employers will have to pay for the test(s), but it is unclear whether this covers tests for the employee only or includes testing for their family members.
  1. The leave will be retroactive to any time off beginning January 1, 2022. This retroactivity is similar to the 2021 COVID PSL law.
  1. The leave program will expire on September 30, 2022.  This is similar to the 2021 COVID-19 PSL law.

Moreover, California intends to propose restoring the business tax credits to assist employers in covering expenses associated with the new law.

For more information, please see the links below:

Article 1Article 2

What do employers need to do?
Employers should review the links provided above and prepare to adjust their COVID-19 paid leave policies once the framework deal is put in place.

Vensure will continue to track this and update once more news has been received.

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This communication is intended solely for the purpose of conveying information. The present post might incorporate hyperlinks directing readers to websites managed by third-party entities. The inclusion of any links within this communication is meant to serve as points of reference and could encompass opinion articles from various law firms, articles from HR associations, official websites, news releases, and documents of government agencies, and other relevant third-party sources. Vensure has no authority over these external websites and bears no responsibility for their content. Furthermore, Vensure does not endorse the materials present on these websites. The contents of this communication should not be interpreted as legal advice or as a legal standpoint concerning specific facts or scenarios. Nor should it be deemed an exhaustive compilation of facts potentially pertinent to federal, state, or local laws. It is strongly advised that employers solicit legal guidance from an employment attorney when undertaking actions in response to any legal updates provided. This is due to the possibility of future alterations occurring in federal, state, and local laws, regulations, as well as the directives and guidelines issued by governing agencies. These changes may transpire at any given time, potentially rendering certain portions of the content within this update void or inaccurate.

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