On March 19th, Governor Newsom approved SB-95, the Supplemental Paid Sick Leave law, which requires firms with twenty-five (25) or more employees to provide supplemental paid sick leave to said employees who are unable to work or telework due to COVID-19 (aka the “covered employees”). Their sick leave shall be paid at the highest of the covered employee’s regular rate of pay, the state minimum wage, or the local minimum wage to which the covered employee is entitled. The bill entitles full time employees up to eighty (80) hours of supplemental paid sick leave, that the number is reduced for part-time workers.
The employees new Supplemental Paid Sick Leave takes priority in calculating an employee’s already existing and available leave, because “[a]n employer shall not require a covered employee to use any other paid or unpaid leave, paid time off, or vacation time provided by the employer . . . in lieu of COVID-19 supplemental paid sick leave.”
Section 248.2(b) of Labor Code broadly extends the scope of this supplemental paid sick leave to:
- employees subject to quarantine or isolation;
- employees advised by a local health officer to self-quarantine;
- employees seeking a vaccination;
- employees experiencing symptoms related to the COVID-19 vaccine;
- employees experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and seeking a medical diagnosis;
- employees caring for a family member who is subject to a quarantine or isolation period or who has been advised to self-quarantine; and/or
- employees caring for a child whose school or place of care is closed or otherwise unavailable for reasons related to COVID-19.
One concern is that the new law could provide employees with a way to work the system, in that it appears to allow eligibility for paid sick leave if “the employee has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID-19.” That leaves the door open to interpretation and abuse. However, this is nothing new for employers; and the new law will hopefully assist to end the pandemic as soon as possible.
For more information, please contact our firm at 916.822.8700 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Or, see the full text of the law at: https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billTextClient.xhtml?bill_id=202120220SB95.