On February 9, 2022, Governor Newsom signed into law S.B. 114, which resurrects California’s COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave law. This law was first enacted in 2020 to fill a gap left by the COVID-19 related paid sick leave provided under federal law. When the federal law expired at the end of 2020, California extended its law through September 2021 and expanded it to cover employers of 25 or more employees. Now, S.B. 114 reestablishes this law to provide COVID-19 supplemental paid sick leave retroactive to January 1, 2022, and available through September 30, 2022.
This comes at an important time for employees who have been impacted by the surge in COVID-19 cases this winter. S.B. 114 was passed due to the zealous advocacy of labor groups who argued that many employees had already exhausted whatever leave they had available before the winter surge. Now, eligible employees will be able to use COVID-19 supplemental paid sick leave in addition to any other leave available to them. And their employer will not be allowed to require them to use other available leave before using COVID-19 supplemental paid sick leave.
S.B. 114 provides up to 40 hours of paid sick leave for COVID-19 related quarantine, isolation, medical diagnosis, vaccination, and care of a sick family member. An employee can also use the 40 hours to care for a child whose school or childcare facility is closed due to COVID-19. Additionally, S.B. 114 provides another 40 hours of paid sick leave if the employee, or a family member whom the employee is caring for, tests positive for COVID-19. The Labor Commissioner’s Office has been tasked with preparing a notice poster more fully explaining employee rights under this law. Be on the lookout for that to come in the next week or so, at its website.
Associations representing eligible employees should inquire with their employers about how they plan to implement this latest iteration of COVID-19 supplemental paid sick leave. Some aspects of the law, such as when an employer may require the employee to provide a doctor’s note, may be subject to negotiation. Associations should leverage their bargaining rights to ensure employees enjoy the full benefits of this law.
If you have any questions about this alert, please contact David Kruckenberg in our Sacramento office.