On February 9, 2022, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed Senate Bill (SB) 114 which resurrects COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave (SPSL) for 2022.

The following are answers that employers need to their questions regarding the latest edition of California SPSL.

When does SPSL become effective?

SPSL becomes effective February 19, 2022, 10 days after enactment. However, the statute applies retroactively to January 1, 2022.

How long will SPSL be in effect?

SPSL requirements will remain in effect until September 30, 2022.

Which employers are covered?

Employers with more than 25 employees must provide leave under the latest edition of SPSL.

Which employees are covered?

An employee of a covered employer who is unable to work or telework because of covered reasons. There is no length of service requirement.

What are the covered reasons for using SPSL?

The following are covered reasons for using SPSL:

  1. The covered employee is subject to a quarantine or isolation period related to COVID-19 as defined by an order or guidance of the State Department of Public Health, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), or a local public health officer who has jurisdiction over the workplace.
  2. The covered employee has been advised by a health care provider to isolate or quarantine due to COVID-19.
  3. The covered employee is attending an appointment for themselves or a family member to receive a vaccine or a vaccine booster for protection against COVID-19.
  4. The covered employee is experiencing symptoms or caring for a family member experiencing symptoms, related to a COVID-19 vaccine or vaccine booster that prevents the employee from being able to work or telework.
  5. The covered employee is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and seeking a medical diagnosis.
  6. The covered employee is caring for a family member who is subject to an order or guidance or who has been advised to isolate or quarantine.
  7. The covered employee is caring for a child, whose school or place of care is closed or otherwise unavailable for reasons related to COVID-19 on the premises.

How many hours of SPSL are employees entitled to take?

A full-time covered employee is entitled to 40 hours of SPSL for the reasons detailed above. A part-time covered employee is entitled to a proportionate number of hours of SPSL based on the type of schedule the employee maintains for the reasons detailed above.

Both full and part-time employees are entitled to an additional amount of time, equal to their allotment for the reasons detailed above if the employee or family member for whom the employee is caring for tests positive for COVID-19 (e.g., full-time employees are entitled to an additional 40 hours). Employers are permitted to require documentation of the positive test to provide leave for this reason.

The maximum amount of SPSL a full-time employee can take during the period from January 1 to September 30, 2022, is 80 hours.  If an employee is eligible for exclusion pay under the Cal/OSHA Emergency Temporary Standard, SPSL hours cannot be used to offset any exclusion pay obligation.

Are there permitted limitations on the use of SPSL?

While SPSL allows for time off for vaccination, including receiving a booster, employers may limit the leave for symptoms for each vaccination or booster to 3 days or 24 hours unless the employee provides verification from a health care provider that the employee (or their family member) is continuing to experience adverse symptoms.

Are employers permitted to request documentation of an employee testing positive for COVID-19?

If an employee requests leave because they tested positive for COVID-19 or to care for a family member who tested positive for COVID-19, then the employer may request documentation of the positive test.

What type of notice do employers need to provide to employees regarding SPSL?

Employers must provide employees with written notice that sets forth the amount of SPSL the employee has used through the pay period in which it was due on either the employee’s itemized wage statement or in a separate writing provided on the designated pay date. The employer shall list zero hours used if a worker has not used any SPSL.

Employers are required to post a notice to be developed by the Labor Commissioner about this new SPSL benefit. If an employer’s covered employees do not frequent a workplace, the employer may satisfy this requirement by disseminating the notice through electronic means, such as e-mail.

What is the rate of pay that a non-exempt employee is compensated for SPSL?

Non-exempt employees shall be compensated based on one of the following:

  • Calculated in the same manner as the regular rate of pay for the workweek in which the employees uses SPSL.
  • Calculated by dividing the total wages, not including overtime premium pay, by the total hours worked, in the full pay periods of the prior 90 days worked.

What is the rate of pay that exempt employees are compensated for SPSL?

SPLS used by an exempt employee shall be paid in the same manner as other forms of paid leave time.

Is there a maximum amount the employer can be required to pay for SPSL?

Yes, an employer shall not be required to pay more than $511 per day and $5,110.00 in aggregate to a covered employee.

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If you have other questions regarding COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave or need assistance with compliance, please do not hesitate to contact a Jackson Lewis attorney to discuss.

Photo of Susan E. Groff Susan E. Groff

Susan E. Groff is a Principal in the Los Angeles, California, office of Jackson Lewis P.C. She advises and counsels management on various employment related issues and is Co-Leader of the California Advice and Counsel Resource Group.

Ms. Groff advises employers on complying…

Susan E. Groff is a Principal in the Los Angeles, California, office of Jackson Lewis P.C. She advises and counsels management on various employment related issues and is Co-Leader of the California Advice and Counsel Resource Group.

Ms. Groff advises employers on complying with federal and California requirements for disability accommodation and protected leaves of absence.

She also counsels employers on a host of other employment issues, including wage and hour laws, harassment and discrimination complaints, workplace investigations, reductions in force, and discipline and termination questions. Ms. Groff further conducts training and seminars on employment related issues, including sexual harassment prevention training.

Furthermore, Ms. Groff has extensive experience exclusively representing employers in labor and employment disputes. She has defended employers in employment litigation, including actions involving sexual harassment, discrimination on the basis of sex, age, race, religion, and disability, wrongful termination, and wage and hour matters, including class actions. Ms. Groff has litigated matters from inception through the appellate stage before California state and federal courts and represents employers in proceedings before state and federal administrative agencies and tribunals.

Photo of Cepideh Roufougar Cepideh Roufougar

Cepideh Roufougar is a Principal in the San Francisco, California, office of Jackson Lewis P.C.

Ms. Roufougar is Co-Leader of the California Advice and Counsel Resource Group. She advises and counsels management in all areas of labor and employment law, with a focus…

Cepideh Roufougar is a Principal in the San Francisco, California, office of Jackson Lewis P.C.

Ms. Roufougar is Co-Leader of the California Advice and Counsel Resource Group. She advises and counsels management in all areas of labor and employment law, with a focus on identifying practical solutions to help ensure compliance with state and federal law. Ms. Roufougar positions herself as a strategic partner when providing advice and counsel about litigation avoidance, employee management issues, implementing disciplinary actions, and collective bargaining issues. Her ability to see the big picture clearly and understand her client’s businesses in emotionally charged and highly complex disputes has helped her clients financially and prevented litigation. Her clients rely on her to guide them through both short-term and long-term planning to achieve their unique goals and strategies.

Ms. Roufougar is an experienced trainer and presents seminars on a wide range of subjects, including: leave management and reasonable accommodations; preventing discrimination, harassment and retaliation; implementing and sustaining disciplinary actions; conducting defensible workplace investigations; first-line supervisor trainings; performance management/evaluations; and wage and hour issues.

Ms. Roufougar has been successful in helping her clients prevail in numerous arbitrations and administrative appeals. She has extensive experience representing employers in labor and employment disputes. She has defended employers in employment litigation matters, including claims alleging violations of the Public Safety Officers Procedural Bill of Rights Act, FLSA collective actions, and claims of harassment and discrimination. Ms. Roufougar also conducts complex workplace investigations.

Before joining Jackson Lewis, Ms. Roufougar practiced at a well-regarded local labor and employment firm and served as in-house counsel for a local public agency.