eAlert: California Expanded Paid Sick Leave for COVID-19

Governor Newsom California Expanded Paid Sick Leave COVID-19

California has expanded its supplemental paid sick leave to cover many workers who are not entitled to emergency paid sick leave (EPSL) under the federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA).

Supplemental paid sick leave is sick leave that is in addition to traditional paid sick leave under the state’s Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act of 2014. In addition to the information below, the state has created a useful FAQ on supplemental sick leave that can be found here.

Background

Previously, the state supplemental paid sick leave only applied to food-sector employers with 500 or more employees if they had to leave their home to work. Now, expanded California paid sick leave is available to employees of all employers with 500 or more employees nationwide. It also applies to healthcare providers and emergency responders of smaller employers (those with fewer than 500 employees) who can be denied the use of federal EPSL at their employer’s discretion.

As a practical matter, employers who were previously denying federal EPSL to healthcare providers and emergency responders may want to change course because providing the optional federal leave will allow them to claim a tax credit whereas providing the mandatory leave only under state law will not. Supplemental paid sick leave is not available for employees who telecommute.

Expansion of Paid Sick Leave

Covered employees may take up to 80 hours of supplemental paid sick leave. The amount is pro-rated for part-time employees. The leave must be paid at the employee’s regular rate of pay, up to $511 per day. Covered employees may use supplemental paid sick leave for the following reasons:

  • The employee is subject to a federal, state, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19;
  • A healthcare provider advises the employee to self-quarantine or self-isolate because of concerns related to COVID-19; or
  • The employer prohibits the employee from working because of health concerns related to the potential transmission of COVID-19.

Notably — and unlike federal EPSL — the law does not provide time off for employees to care for others who are sick or quarantining or to care for children.

For food-sector employees, the law applies retroactively to April 16, 2020 (which is when the law originally took effect by executive order). For all other covered employees, the law took effect on September 19, 2020. Supplemental paid sick leave will be available until federal EPSL expires. Currently, the federal program is in effect through December 31, 2020.

Earlier in the year, the governor issued an executive order requiring employers to allow food-sector employees to wash their hands every 30 minutes or more often if needed. This requirement is now part of the California Retail Food Code.

Notice Requirements

Employers must post the appropriate notice below in the workplace. If employees do not regularly go to the workplace, employers should distribute these notices electronically.

Let’s Talk

Are you looking for more FFCRA updates and COVID-19 news? Head over to our COVID-19 Business Resources Hub for all the information you need to combat this crisis.

Need a little extra support? No matter your situation, SDP has layers of HR support that can help. Learn more about our COVID-19 Support Services here. And don’t forget to follow us on FacebookTwitter, and LinkedIn for even more business tips & news!

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