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SB 114 - The Return of Supplemental Paid Sick Leave

SB 114 was signed into law by Governor Newsom on February 9, 2022. SB 114, effective February 19, 2022, entitles covered employees to a minimum of 40 hours of COVID-19 related supplemental paid sick leave (SPSL) in 2022. SB 114 is similar to the SPSL bill from last year, whereas this bill applies to all employers with more than 25 employees; however, there are some differences. Here are some important facts about the latest bill:

1. SB 114 expands the list of qualifying reasons for leave when an employee is unable to work or telework to include:

  • Attending an appointment for a family member to receive a COVID-19 vaccine or booster.
  • Caring for a family member experiencing symptoms related to a COVID-19 vaccine or booster that prevents the employee from being able to telework.

2. SB 114 imposes a limitation on the leave that must be provided for vaccines or boosters. Specifically, an employer may limit the total leave to three days or 24 hours. If the employee requests more leave, the employer may require that an employee provide verification from a healthcare provider that the employee or their family member is continuing to experience symptoms related to a COVID-19 vaccine or booster. The three day or 24 hour limitation applies to each vaccine or booster and includes the time used to obtain the vaccine or booster.

3. SB 114 entitles covered employees to 40 hours of SPSL if the covered employee satisfies either of the following criteria:

  • The employee is considered full time
  • The employee was scheduled to work, on average, at least 40 hours per week for the employer in the two weeks preceding the date the covered employee was off for qualifying reasons.

4. SB 114 provides a new bucket of at least 40 hours of SPSL for 2022, on top of whatever the employee may have taken in 2021.

  • It is important to note that a covered employee is entitled to an additional 40 hours on top of the 40 hours available for qualifying reasons, making available a total of 80 hours. However, for an employee to be entitled to the additional 40 hours, an employer may require an employee to provide documentation to the employer that either the covered employee or family member they are caring for has tested positive for COVID-19.
  • If an employee has received sick pay from another source, such as through a county or city sick leave act, this SPSL does not add additional hours. 

5. SB 114 applies retroactively to COVID-19 related leave taken from January 1, 2022. Employees can request retroactive payments verbally or by written request, and they must be paid on or before the next full pay period after the request.

Like the previous California SPSL, SB 114 leave has to be made available upon written or oral request.  Employers are prohibited from requiring a covered employee to use any other paid or unpaid leave, including paid time off or vacation time provided by the employer, in lieu of SPSL or before commencing payment of SPSL. Employers also cannot require a covered employee to first exhaust their SPSL leave before satisfying any requirement to provide paid leave for reasons related to COVID-19 under any Cal/OSHA COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standards.

Employers are also required to provide employees with a notice of right to supplemental paid sick leave. The Department of Industrial Relations has created a webpage to assist employers with questions regarding employee notifications.

SB 114 is in effect until September 30, 2022. An employee taking leave as of that date shall be permitted to take their full amount of leave, which could extend a leave in progress on September 30, 2022 into October 2022.

 

Patricia Eyres, Esq.

Eyres Law Group

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