Senate Bill 95’s supplemental COVID paid sick leave requirement goes into effect as of today. The new law mandates that employers provide employees with supplemental paid sick leave for COVID-related leave in addition to other paid time off obligations under existing federal, state, or local statutes.
The obligation to provide paid COVID related sick leave is also retroactive to January 1, 2021. Upon an oral or written request by an employee, the employer is obligated to reimburse an employee who took leave between January 1, 2021, and March 29, 2021, that would have otherwise qualified under SB 95.
Under Labor Code 248.2 all employers with 26 or more employees must allow all employees who are unable to work or telework due to COVID use of the new supplemental paid sick leave. The employee qualifies for leave if the employee:
- Is subject to a quarantine or isolation period related to COVID.
- Has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID.
- Is attending an appointment to receive a vaccine for protection against contracting COVID.
- Is experiencing symptoms related to a COVID vaccine that prevent the employee from being able to work or telework.
- Is experiencing symptoms of COVID and seeking a medical diagnosis.
- Is caring for a family member who is subject to a quarantine or isolation period related to COVID; or who has been advised to self-quarantine by a health care provider.
- Is caring for a child whose school or place of care is closed or otherwise unavailable for reasons related to COVID on the premises.
Full-time qualified employees are eligible for up to 80 hours of supplemental paid sick leave. Non-full-time employees with normal weekly schedules receive the total number of hours they are normally scheduled to work over two weeks. Employees who work a variable number of hours, whose tenure is six months or more, receive 14 times the average number of hours they worked each day in the six months preceding their leave date.
In addition, as with all other paid sick leave requirements mandated by law in California, there are posting requirements and a requirement that the leave hours be available on paystubs or other written notices to employees received on payday.
SB 95 is nuanced and specific with regard to the qualifications, exemptions, and obligations.
If your company has any questions about the new paid sick leave requirements, 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.