Effective March 29, 2021, California employers with more than 25 employees will have to provide Supplemental Paid Sick Leave (SPSL) to employees unable to work or telework for COVID-related reasons, including attending an appointment to receive a COVID-19 vaccine or experiencing symptoms from the vaccine that prevents them from working. The new law, Senate Bill 95 (SB 95), was signed by Governor Newsom on March 19, 2021. Key aspects are highlighted below.
Amount of SPSL
Qualifying employees will be entitled to 80 hours of SPSL if they are full-time and a pro-rated amount of SPSL if they are part-time, based on the number of hours they regularly work over two weeks. SPSL is in addition to regular paid sick leave required under California law.
Retroactive Use of SPSL to January 1, 2021
SB 95 is retroactive to January 1, 2021 and is in effect until September 20, 2021. As such, any employee who has taken unpaid sick leave since January 1, 2021, for what is now a SPSL qualifying reason, will have to be retroactively compensated.
Expansion of Former SPSL Requirements
The new law is an expansion of the previous California COVID-19 SPSL statute that applied to employers with 500 or more employees and expired on December 31, 2020. Not only does it apply to smaller employers (over 25), but it requires SPSL for many more reasons. In addition, employers must list the amount of an employee’s available SPSL as a separate line item on wage statements (pay stubs).
Posting and Notice
By March 29, 2021, all employers are required to post a notice of the COIVD-19 SPSL requirements in a conspicuous place in the workplace. The California Labor Commissioner has developed a model notice that employers may use to satisfy the notice requirement, which can be found here. If employees do not frequent the workplace, employers may satisfy the posting requirement by disseminating the notice by electronic means, such as email.
Covered employers should update their applicable policies, disseminate the SPSL notice, train their staff of SPSL compliance and revise their wage statements to include a line item showing available COVID-19 SPSL. As always, Duggan McHugh Law Corporation is available to help employers navigate and implement this new workplace law.