Nationwide COVID paid leave may have ended in September 2021, but Californians have another state-specific law to follow. Effective February 19, 2022, employers may need to provide California supplemental paid sick leave.
So, do you have to provide CA supplemental sick pay? Get the details of the state-specific law below.
California supplemental paid sick leave
What is California supplemental paid sick leave? California’s supplemental paid sick leave (SPSL) law is in addition to its existing paid sick leave law, Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act of 2014. Unlike this general paid sick leave law, CA supplemental sick leave is COVID-specific—and temporary.
The state’s COVID-19 supplemental paid sick leave was signed into law on February 9, 2022 and is retroactive to January 1, 2022.
If you’re an employer in California, here’s what you need to know to comply with the state law.
When does the California law expire?
California’s supplemental paid sick leave law expires September 30, 2022.
Qualifying employees are eligible for California supplemental pay for leave taken between January 1, 2022 and September 30, 2022.
Which employers must provide CA supplemental paid sick leave?
All California employers with more than 25 employees are responsible for providing COVID sick leave. This includes both public and private sector employers.
When can employees take CA supplemental sick leave?
Employees can take supplemental paid sick leave if they are unable to work or telework due to qualifying COVID situations. So, what types of COVID situations qualify?
You must provide California COVID paid leave to employees who are:
- Getting the vaccine or booster
- Going with a family member to get the vaccine or booster
- Dealing with side effects from the vaccine or booster
- Caring for a family member who has vaccine or booster side effects
- Going through the quarantine or isolation period defined by federal, state, or local regulations
- Experiencing symptoms and waiting for a diagnosis
- Caring for a family member who’s going through the quarantine or isolation period defined by federal, state, or local regulations or healthcare provider advice
- Caring for a child whose school or place of care is closed or unavailable as a result of COVID-19
Who qualifies as a “family member?” California defines family members as children, parents, spouses, registered domestic partners, grandparents, grandchildren, and siblings.
How much time off do employees get?
Full-time employees can take up to 80 hours of SPSL. But, the maximum time is split evenly between two “banks.”
So, employees can take up to 40 hours for each of the outlined qualifying vaccine, quarantine, and family care reasons (“Bank” 1). If an employee or their family member tests positive for COVID-19, they can take an additional 40 hours of leave (“Bank” 2).
Part-time employees are also eligible for SPSL, up to the number of hours they work over two weeks. Keep in mind that half of those hours are only available if they or a family member tests positive for COVID.
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What is the rate of pay?
Employees are entitled to their regular or usual rate of pay. The maximum amount an employee can receive is $511 per day (up to $5,110 total). Sound familiar? This is the same limit the federal coronavirus paid leave law set.
CA SPSL vs. other types of CA leave: What’s the difference?
CA supplemental paid sick leave isn’t the only type of leave the state requires. California also has paid sick leave and paid family leave laws.
Employees can take California paid sick leave for themselves or a family member for:
- Preventative care or diagnosis of an illness
- Care or treatment for an existing health condition
- Recovery from domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking
Employees can take paid family leave to:
- Care for a seriously ill family member
- Bond with a new child (birth, adoption, or foster care)
- Participate in a qualifying event due to a family member’s military deployment to a foreign country
Although California supplemental paid sick leave expires September 30, 2022, the state’s other paid sick and family leave laws do not.
How do employees request leave?
Employees simply need to make an oral or written request for SPSL if they have qualifying circumstances. Generally, employees do not need to provide documentation (e.g., medical record of a positive test result) before asking for leave.
However, you may be able to request documentation from employees before paying the sick leave if you have reason to believe their request for leave is invalid.
Anything else employers need to know?
If you’re wondering if there’s anything else you need to know, the answer is yes. California also has posting requirements.
You must display California’s 2022 COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave poster. Employees must easily be able to read the poster in your workplace. If employees don’t frequently come into a physical workplace, you can distribute it electronically to employees.
Where can employers go for more information?
Hungry for more information on the state-mandated paid COVID leave? Check out the following resources California provides:
- 2022 SPSL FAQs
- Side by Side Comparison of Paid Leave Options
- 2022 COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave Poster