New California Supplemental COVID-19 Paid Sick Leave Law Effective March 29
Despite strong opposition from United Contractors and our members, SB 95 was signed by Governor Newsom late Friday. This new law, effective 10 days after enactment, requires California employers with more than 25 employees to provide Supplemental Paid Sick Leave (SPSL) to employees who are off work for COVID19 related reasons. Similar to FFCRA and AB 1867, there are no CBA or construction industry waivers.
The following are the known basics of the new law. UCON will be providing additional guidance as soon as it is available. You can also read this article from Littler for analysis and refer to the DIR FAQ.
Starting March 29, 2021 (10 days after enactment) through September 30, 2021. However, the requirements apply retroactively to January 1, 2021.
California employers with more than 25 employees.
Employees who are unable to work or telework due to one of the following -
- Subject to a federal, state, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19;
- Advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine or self-isolate due to concerns related to COVID-19;
- Attending an appointment for a COVID-19 vaccine;
- Experiencing symptoms related to a COVID-19 vaccine;
- Experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and seeking a medical diagnosis;
- Caring for a family member who is subject to an order as in #1 above or advised to self-quarantine as in #2 above; OR
- Caring for a child whose school or place of care is closed or otherwise unavailable for reasons related to COVID-19 on the premises.
Amount of Leave That Must be Provided:
- Full-time employees – 80 hours
- Part-time employees – amount depends on hours worked
Hourly Pay Rate for Leave:
- Highest of the following – employee’s regular pay rate for the workweek in which they use COVID-19 SPSL, pay rate determined by dividing total wages (minus any overtime) by total hours worked during previous 90 days, state minimum wage, or applicable local minimum wage
- Capped at $511.00 per day and $5,110.00 per employee (unless a higher cap is specified by a new federal law)
Fringe Benefits for Union Employees:
Not specified in the law. UCON is working with our union partners to clarify those requirements.
Interaction with Other Leave:
- This Supplemental PSL is in addition to and separate from California PSL or any other paid leave provided by the employer. Employers cannot require employees to use other paid or unpaid leave (sick leave, vacation, PTO, etc.) before using or instead of using SPSL.
- However, for purposes of Cal/OSHA exclusion pay, employers can require employees to first exhaust SPSL.
- If employers already provided other COVID-19 related PSL under another federal or local law that covers the same reasons for leave and provides benefits equal to or greater than those under the new SPSL for leave taken on or after January 1, 2021, the employer may count those hours towards their SPSL requirements under SB 95.
Retroactive Leave Payment:
Employees that would have been eligible for this leave on or after January 1, 2021 and were not compensated in a manner equal to or greater than leave provided under SB 95 must be provided with retroactive payment on or before the next payday following the employee’s written or verbal request for the retroactive payment.
Employers must provide a notice to employees, which can be sent electronically. The Labor Commissioner has issued the required notice in English.
Wage Statement Requirements:
An employer must list the amount of an employee’s available COVID-19 SPSL on the employee’s wage statement as a distinct line item. The employer must list available COVID-19 SPSL separately from any other available paid sick leave or paid time off. The wage statement requirement becomes effective the first full pay period after the statute’s effective date of March 29, 2021.