In addition to Labor Code 248, which codified the Governor’s Executive Order requiring large food sector employers to provide COVID-19 paid sick leave, recently enacted Labor Code 248.1 now requires most employers with 500 or more employees to provide supplemental COVID-19 paid sick leave.
The new COVID-19 supplemental paid sick leave (“CSPSL”), which went into effect on September 19, 2020, applies to private “hiring entities” with 500 or more employees within the United States.
Under the recent legislation, covered employers are required to provide CSPSL to employees who are:
1. Subject to federal, state, or local quarantine or isolation order
related to COVID-19;
2. Advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine or
self-isolate due to concerns related to COVID-19; and/or
3. Prohibited from working by the employer due to health concerns
related to the potential transmission of COVID-19.
Thus, the new CSPSL is only available in connection with an employee’s own health and does not cover: (1) employees who must care for children whose schools or childcare close for COVID-19 related reasons and, possibly, or (2) caring for an individual described in #1 or #2 above.
The new law allows employers to offset their obligation to provide CSPSL hours with previously provided COVID-19 related supplemental paid sick leave if: (1) the leave was provided for the same reasons covered under the new CSPSL (nos. 1-3 above), and (2) the compensation was equal or greater than the amount of CSPSL compensation available.
Importantly, unlike the supplemental paid sick leave required to be provided by large food sector employers, CSPSL for non-food sector workers under Labor Code 248.1 does not apply to independent contractors. However, employers must take care to ensure that they are not misclassifying employees as independent contractors, who may be entitled to CSPSL, in addition to a myriad of other employment protections.
The DLSE’s FAQ page indicates the CSPSL must be available immediately upon the employee’s oral or written request and cannot be conditional upon provided a medical certification. The new legislation also requires that beginning on September 19th the available CSPSL must be shown on the employee’s wage statements, such as is already required for normal sick leave, or in a separate writing provided on each pay date.
For employers, this is a stark reminder that they should be revisit their policies and practices to ensure they are in compliance with this law, as well as many other recently passed COVID-19 related laws. If you have any questions about the new leave requirements or your policies or practices, please contact Nicholas Roxborough at (818) 992-9999, ext. 222, Drew Pomerance at ext. 212, Michael Adreani, at ext. 234, Marina Vitek, at ext. 236, or Trevor Witt, at ext. 224.