Legal Update: On March 19, 2021, Governor Newsom signed Senate Bill 95 (“SB 95”) into law, creating Labor Code §248.2, requiring all California public and private employers with 25 or more employees to provide up to 80 hours of COVID-19 supplemental paid sick leave (“SPSL”) for covered employees who are “unable to work or telework due to certain reasons related to COVID-19.”
SB 95 prohibits the employer from “requiring a covered employee to use other paid or unpaid leave, paid time off, or vacation time provided by the employer to the covered employee before that employee uses COVID-19 supplemental paid leave. . .”
SB 95 applies retroactively from January 1, 2021 and expires on September 30, 2021. For example, if a covered employee took leave for one of the below COVID-19 SPSL reasons on or after January 1, 2021, he or she is entitled to the rate of pay specified in SB 95 for that time. If another form of benefit was used, the employer would need to credit back the type of paid leave used and issue payment to equal the amount owed for the leave under SB 95.
A covered employee is entitled to take SPSL upon oral or written request to the employer, without certification from a healthcare provider.
The following reasons suffice for taking SPSL: 1) an employee is caring for himself or herself due to COVID-19, 2) an employee is caring for a family member for a COVID-19-related reason and 3) an employee cannot work due to a vaccine-related reason.
To be eligible for SPSL, the employee must have been working:
1) full time; or
2) scheduled to work at least 40 hours per week 2 weeks preceding the date the leave is taken.
If neither of the above conditions apply, an employee may also be entitled to the leave if the employee is one of the following:
1) A part-time employee with regular work schedules is entitled to SPSL up to the total number of hours he or she is scheduled to work over 2 weeks.
2) A part-time employee working a variable number of hours is entitled to SPSL at 14 times the average hours worked each day 6 months preceding the date SPSL is taken. However, if the employee worked for the employer for less than 6 months but for more than 14 days, he or she is entitled to SPSL at the same calculation but over the entire period he or she has worked for the employer.
3) An employee who has worked 14 days or less is entitled to SPSL equal to the total number of hours worked for the employer.
The amount paid for employees taking SPSL varies according to the current local and state laws, the method the employer calculates other paid leave, the specific employee’s job type/position and other related factors. However, an employer is not required to pay SPSL for more than a maximum of $511 per day or $5,110 in the aggregate.