California Governor Approves COVID-19 Paid-Sick-Leave Law

woman looking out window at home

This article has been updated.

Gov. Gavin Newsom approved a measure on Feb. 9 reviving a statewide supplemental COVID-19 paid-sick-leave law that expired last year. The new law applies retroactively to Jan. 1 and will remain in effect through Sept. 30.

"By extending sick leave to front-line workers with COVID and providing support for California businesses, we can help protect the health of our workforce, while also ensuring that businesses and our economy are able to thrive," Newsom said in a joint statement with California Senate President Pro Tempore Toni Atkins and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon.

We've gathered articles on the news from SHRM Online and other media outlets.

Covered Businesses

The paid-sick-leave law, SB 114, applies to businesses with at least 26 employees. SB 114 provides $100,000 to the California Labor Commissioner to implement and enforce the law, but employers will mostly have to pay for the costs to provide the additional time off.

Covered Reasons for Leave

Full-time employees are entitled to take up to 80 hours of COVID-19 supplemental paid sick leave, and part-time employees can take a prorated amount. Covered employees who are unable to work or telework can use up to 40 hours of leave for their own illness or quarantine period or to care for a relative who is sick with COVID-19 or needs to quarantine. Workers can also use the leave to get vaccinated against the coronavirus. An employee can use an additional 40 hours if the employee—or a family member for whom the employee is providing care—tests positive for COVID-19.

The legislation will take effect 10 days after it was signed by the governor and will apply retroactively to Jan. 1. So, employers may need to make retroactive payments for covered leave that employees took earlier this year.

(Fisher Phillips)

Mixed Reactions

Some business groups opposed the requirement. Ashley Hoffman, a policy advocate at the California Chamber of Commerce, said the chamber is concerned about the added costs to business and the potential for abuse of supplemental paid sick leave.

Labor groups have generally supported the proposal. Bob Schoonover, president of labor group SEIU California, said the former rule should never have been allowed to expire. "This is a critical piece of the protection that workers and the public need," he said in a statement.


Check for City and County Laws

Employers should note that some counties and cities in California, such as
the cities of Los Angeles, Long Beach and Oakland, enacted their own supplemental paid-sick ordinances with different expiration dates and requirements. Some do not expire until the local emergency ordinance is lifted.

(Fisher Phillips)

Expanded Relief for Small Businesses

Newsom also signed into law SB 113, which will provide $6.1 billion in tax credits, grants and other relief for small businesses, including almost $500 million in tax cuts for restaurants and shuttered venues.

"This business relief package of more than $6 billion will help to offset losses employers have incurred, help create good paying jobs, and will speed up our economic recovery from the pandemic," said Jennifer Barrera, CEO of the California Chamber of Commerce. "While we have more work to do, this sends the right message that California is investing in the success of our business community."

(State of California)

It's Time for a California HR Compliance Check

California HR professionals know that the new year generally brings new employment laws, as well as higher minimum wage thresholds at the state and local levels. The start of the year is a great time to update employee handbooks and ensure compliance. Here is an overview of what else is new for 2022 and the key issues California HR professionals should follow this year.

(SHRM Online)


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