15 Sep

September 2020: Governor Newsom Signs COVID-19 Supplemental Sick Leave for the State of California

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What happened?
On September 9, 2020, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed into law AB 1867 (the Act), granting supplemental sick leave to the remaining California employees not impacted by the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA).

What are the details? 
The Act is effective immediately following its signing on September 9, 2020. It will sunset with the end of the FFCRA, or December 31, 2020, whichever occurs later. 

The Act will impact employers with 500 or more employees in the United States, including health care providers and emergency responders.

Employers will be required to provide 80 hours of supplemental paid sick leave to an employee if the employee fits the following criteria:

  • The employer considers the employee “full time.”
  • The employee is scheduled to, on average, work at least 40 hours per week, in the two weeks preceding the date the covered worker will be using their supplemental paid sick leave.

Employees who do not fit the criteria will be entitled to the following amount of sick leave:

  • If the employee has a normal weekly schedule, the total amount of hours the employer is normally scheduled to work over a two-week period.
  • If the employee works a variable number of hours, their entitlement is equal to 14 times the average number of hours the employee works each day in the six months preceding the date they take their leave. If they have not worked for six months with the employer, use the duration they have worked for the employer.

Employees may utilize this leave for the following reasons:

  • The employee is subject to a federal, state, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19;
  • The employee is advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine or self-isolate due to concerns related to COVID-19;
  • The employee is prohibited from working by the employer due to health concerns related to the potential transmission of COVID-19.

The employee will be compensated for their paid sick leave based on the highest amount between the following:

  • The workers regular rate of pay for their last pay period;
  • The state minimum wage;
  • The local minimum wage the worker is entitled.

Employers who already provided a supplemental sick leave for the same reasons as listed before can credit the amount that was used by the employees against their entitlement due to them by the Act.

The Act also codifies Executive Order (EO) N-51-20, which provides the same amount of supplemental paid sick leave specifically for food sector employees.

AB-1867 can be read here.

EO N-51-20 can be found here.

An article summarizing this bill and its other provisions can be found here.

Note: Employers will be required to post (if employees are in the workplace) or distribute (if employees are not in the workplace) a notice provided by the Labor Commissioner’s office at a later date. The Labor Commissioner’s office place their required postings here.

What do employers need to do? 
California employers should update their leave policies to reflect this new requirement. Training should be provided to management on how to properly administer this leave. Employers should monitor the Labor Commissioner’s office’s website to obtain the required posting once it is posted. 

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