SB 114 that was signed last week and is effective 2/19/2022 created Labor Code section 248.6 and provides retroactive COVID Supplemental Sick Leave up to 80 hours between 1/01/22 - 9/30/22.
Who Qualifies and How?
SPSL leave will be available to full time (40 hour+) workers including Firefighters scheduled to work 40+ hours, and to all other employees at rates that will vary depending on how many hours they were scheduled to work in the week prior to their requested leave.
SPSL benefits are available to for employees who were unable to work or telework due to one of these qualifying reasons:
- Subject to quarantine or isolation period per CDPH, CDC, or Local Public Health.
- Subject to quarantine per advisement by a health care provider
- Employee is attending a vaccination appointment for themselves or a family member
- (i) Employee has vaccine reaction symptoms or caring for a family member with symptoms and unable to work or telework
- (ii) Employer may limit the total SPSL for each vaccine or booster to 3 days or 24 hours unless the employee provides verification from health care provider that they themselves or a family member are continuing to experience symptoms from vaccine.
- Employee has COVID symptoms and seeking a medical diagnosis
- Employee is caring for a family member who is subject to or advised to isolate/quarantine
- Employee is caring for a child whose school or place of care is closed
Notably, employers can ask for proof of positive tests for the employee and/or a family member. Failure to provide proof of positive tests when required may support the employer's denial of SPSL.
This is a different group of benefits from last year’s supplemental leave under SB 95, so it is a whole new entitlement, BUT only applies for leave during the period of 1/01/22 – 9/30/22. Employees who meet all qualifying conditions can be eligible for up to 80 hours total leave during this period.
The SPSL benefits under SB 114 (LC 248.6) are capped at $511 per day and $5,110 in the aggregate for now.
**Importantly, if employer provides another supplemental leave on/after 1/1/22 for any of the above qualifications and rates, the employer may count the hours towards the total number of SPSL hours.
Requesting & Payment of Retroactive Benefits
To get benefits back to 1/01/22, employees must request retroactive benefits, which can be an oral or a written request. Upon request by an employee, employers must (after 2/19/22) apply the SPSL leave benefits to the employees next paycheck and document the total hours used in a written notice.
Interplay with Workers’ Compensation Benefits
SPSL benefits under SB 114 (LC 248.6), if the employee qualifies, must be exhausted before COVID-related workers’ compensation benefits are due under SB 1159 if the employee’s COVID case is presumptively industrial. However, employers may not require an employee to exhaust their SPSL before satisfying any requirement for COVID-related leave under ETS or ATD.
View the full bill here: https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billTextClient.xhtml?bill_id=202120220SB114