California Supplemental Paid Sick Leave

On February 9, 2022, Governor Newsom signed Senate Bill SB-114, which reinstates up to 80-hours of COVID-19 related Supplemental Paid Sick Leave (SPSL) for all employees working for California employers who employ more than 25 people. The SPSL becomes effective immediately as the statute applies retroactively to January 1, 2022 and ends on September 30, 2022. Frequently asked questions regarding the SPSL can be found here.

Rate of pay under SPSL is the same as normal paid sick leave under Labor Code Section 246 (wages only), with pay caps of $511 per day and $5,110 in aggregate.

Employers must provide employees with written notice that sets forth the amount of SPSL the employee has used through the pay period on either the employee’s itemized wage statement or in a separate writing provided on each pay day. The employer shall list zero hours used if a worker has not used any SPSL.

If an employee is eligible for exclusion pay under the Cal/OSHA Emergency Temporary Standard, the paid leave provided under the Cal/OSHA Temporary Standard does not count towards SPSL (Cal/OSHA exclusion pay only applies when an employee cannot work due to work-related exposure or illness). In addition, the employer cannot require the employee to use any other paid or unpaid leave, paid time off, or vacation time provided before the employee uses SPSL or in lieu or SPSL.

Employers are required to post a notice in the workplace. If an employer’s covered employees do not frequent a workplace, the employer may satisfy this requirement by disseminating the notice through electronic means, such as e-mail. Click here for a copy of the notice in English and click here for a copy of the notice in Spanish.

There are two buckets of leave available under the new law, put to 40-hours each. The eligibility requirements for using SPSL in each bucket are as follows:

40-Hour Bucket #1 – Qualifying Reasons:

  1. The employee is subject to a quarantine or isolation period related to COVID-19 as defined by an order or guidelines of the State Department of Public Health, the federal Center for Disease Control and Prevention, or a local health officer who has jurisdiction over the workplace. If the covered employee is subject to more than one of the foregoing, the covered employee shall be permitted to use COVID-19 SPSL for the minimum quarantine or isolation period under the order or guidelines that provides for the longest such minimum period.
  2. The employee has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID-19.
  3. The employee is attending an appointment for themselves or a family member to receive a vaccine for protection against contracting COVID-19. An employer may limit the leave for symptoms for each vaccination or booster to 3-days (24-hours) unless the employee provides verification from a health care provider that the employee (or their family member) is continuing to experience adverse symptoms.
  4. The employee is experiencing symptoms, or caring for a family member experiencing symptoms, related to a COVID-19 vaccine that prevent the employee from being able to work or telework.
  5. The employee is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and seeking a medical diagnosis.
  6. The employee is caring for a family member, as defined in subdivision (c) of Section 245.5 of the Labor Code, who is subject to an order or guidelines by an order or guidelines of the State Department of Public Health, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or a local health officer who has jurisdiction over the workplace or who has been advised to self-quarantine by a health care provider.
  7. The employee is caring for a child, as defined in Subdivision (c) of Section 245.5 of the Labor Code, whose school or place of care is closed or otherwise unavailable for reasons related to COVID-19 on the premises.

40-Hour Bucket #2 – Qualifying Reasons:

  1. If the employee or a family member for whom they are providing care tests positive for COVID-19. The employer may require documentation of positive test for the employee or family member. No paid leave is required if the employee or family member refuses to test or show documentation.

NECA and the Politico Group continue to push for a dollar-for-dollar state tax credit to offset the costs of the leave for highroad construction employers who pay premium wages. We hope to achieve this solution during further budget discussions.