On March 19, 2021, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed Senate Bill (“SB”) 95, which creates new Labor Code section 248.2 and mandates that employers provide employees with up to two weeks of supplemental paid sick leave for various COVID-related absences, including due to illness or getting a vaccine. The new law takes effect on Friday, March 29, 2021 and applies retroactivity, meaning an employee can request sick leave pay if the employee took leave for a qualifying reason after January 1, 2021. (This new law does not apply to employers with fewer than 25 employees, which are exempted.)
Frequently Asked Questions & Responses
Find questions and answers to how this new law may impact your situation:
What does COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave provide?
Up to two weeks of fully paid leave, up to $511 per day. These are in addition to California Paid Sick Days and any paid sick leave taken in 2020.
What can COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave be used for?
It provides paid leave if the employee cannot work or telework because:
- The employee is subject to a quarantine or isolation order due to COVID-19.
- The employee was advised by a healthcare provider to quarantine due to concerns related to COVID-19.
- The employee is attending an appointment to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.
- The employee is recovering from symptoms of a COVID-19 vaccine.
- The employee is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and seeking a medical diagnosis.
- The employee caring for a family member who has COVID-19 or who has been advised to self-quarantine.
- The employee is caring for a child whose school or place of care is closed or otherwise unavailable for reasons related to COVID-19 on the premises.
When can the employee take COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave?
Although it takes effect on March 29, 2021 (10 days after the bill was enacted), it applies going back to January 1, 2021. If the employee already took leave in 2021 for any of the above reasons, the employee can ask the employer to pay for the time the employee was out of work, up to two weeks. The employer must pay the employee in the next pay period. COVID-19 supplemental paid sick leave will expire on September 30, 2021.
How much time can the employee take COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick leave depending on full-time or part-time status?
Full-Time Employees: Employees receive 80 hours if either their employer considers them to work full time or, on average, they worked or were scheduled to work at least 40 hours per week in the two weeks preceding the date they took leave.
Non-Full-Time Employees: Employees with a normal weekly schedule receive the total number of hours they are normally scheduled to work over two weeks. Employees who work a variable number of hours, whose tenure is six months or more, receive 14 times the average number of hours they worked each day in the six months preceding their leave date. If they worked only between 15 days and six months, use this same calculation but over their entire period of employment. Employees who worked 14 days or fewer receive leave hours equal to their total number of hours worked.
What is the enforcement mechanism?
This section shall be enforced as if COVID-19 supplemental paid sick leave constitutes “paid sick days,” “paid sick leave,” or “sick leave” under Labor Code sections 246.5, 247, 247.5 and 248.5. Remedies include, but are not limited to, the remedies available to redress any unlawful business practice under Business and Professions code section 17200, et seq.