by Laura Lee
Just as the Supplemental Paid Sick Leave (SPSL) was due to expire in September, Governor Newsom extended legislation to require employers of 26 or more employees to continue to provide job-protected leave to workers for COVID-19 related reasons. The SPSL bill is effective retroactively from January 1, 2022 to the new deadline of December 31, 2022. The revised bill includes updated testing requirements and the establishment of a grant program for SPSL cost reimbursement for small businesses and nonprofits.
Who Is Eligible?
Covered employees in the public or private sectors who work for employers with 26 or more employees are entitled to up to 80 hours of 2022 COVID-19 related paid sick leave from January 1, 2022 through December 31, 2022, immediately upon an oral or written request to their employer, with up to 40 of those hours available only when an employee or family member tests positive for COVID-19.
A full-time covered employee may take up to 40 hours of leave if the employee is unable to work or telework for any of the following reasons:
Vaccine-Related: The covered employee is attending a vaccine or booster appointment for themselves or a family member or cannot work or telework because they have vaccine–related symptoms or are caring for a family member with vaccine-related symptoms. An employer may limit an employee to 24 hours or 3 days of leave for each vaccination or booster appointment and any consequent side effects, unless a health care provider verifies that more recovery time is needed.
Caring for Yourself: The employee is subject to quarantine or isolation period related to COVID-19, as defined by an order or guidance of the California Department of Public Health, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or a local public health officer with jurisdiction over the workplace; has been advised by a healthcare provider to quarantine; or is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and seeking a medical diagnosis.
Caring for a Family Member : The covered employee is caring for a family member who is subject to a COVID-19 quarantine or isolation period or has been advised by a healthcare provider to quarantine due to COVID-19, or is caring for a child whose school or place of care is closed or unavailable due to COVID-19 on the premises.
A full-time covered employee may take up to an additional 40 hours of leave if the employee is unable to work or telework for either of the following reasons:
-The covered employee tests positive for COVID-19;
-The covered employee is caring for a family member who tested positive for COVID-19.
-A family member includes a child, parent, spouse, registered domestic partner, grandparent, grandchild, or sibling.
Part-Time covered Employees: Part-time covered employees may take as leave up to the amount of hours they work over two weeks, with half of those hours available only when they or a family member test positive for COVID-19.
COVID Test Requirements
Previously, SPSL recipients requesting the full 80 hours of SPSL leave, which includes 40 hours of Standard SPSL and 40 hours of Positive-Test SPSL, were subject to two COVID tests. Now, employers can request a third COVID test 24-hours or more after the second test. Employees who refuse to take the test or provide documentation are no longer eligible and their request for additional SPSL may be denied.
Please note that employees who have already utilized SPSL are no longer eligible for additional coverage beyond the 80 hour cap. An employee who begins taking SPSL on December 31, 2022 can continue the remainder of their leave uninterrupted, so it is possible that some leaves extend into January 2023.
This poster must be displayed where employees can easily read it. If employees do not frequent a physical workplace, it may be disseminated to employees electronically.
Grants for Small Businesses and Nonprofits
Employers meeting certain eligibility criteria, the first of which is a small business or nonprofit employing between 26-49 full-time employees, can apply for a grant for reimbursement of SPSL costs. This can be a huge relief to small businesses who have had to adapt and pivot with a small team throughout another pandemic year. Additional information on the grants will be provided through the California Office of the Small Business Advocate.
Need help navigating the ever-changing employment laws, or updating your Employee Handbook to reflect the latest HR policies? The Grady Firm can assist you with updating your documents and provides legal counsel to employers. Schedule a consultation with The Grady Firm’s attorneys, or call 949-798-6298.
To learn more about ensuring your business is compliant with state and local laws, schedule a complimentary 15-minute consultation with The Grady Firm’s attorneys; call +1 (949) 798-6298; or fill out a Contact Request Form.
As outside counsel for growing and international companies with a presence in California, The Grady Firm attorneys provide the following services;
Assistance with interpreting emergency COVID-19 legislation as it affects your business;
Counsel employers on staff changes and draft Notices of Reduced Hours, Furloughs, or Layoffs;
Draft Severance Agreements;
Act as I-9 agent and I-9 audit preparation or defense;
Employee v. independent contractor classification analysis;
Assistance with converting independent contractors to employees;
On-site, classroom-style Sexual Harassment training for employees and supervisors;
“Experiential” supervisor training in which managerial employees practice processing a harassment complaint and commencing an investigation in pairs with other trainees.
Draft and review Employee Handbooks, arbitration agreements, and Anti-Harassment policies;
Employee personnel file audits;
Litigation/labor claim defense.
The firm’s attorneys are licensed to practice employment law in California.
This article is for informational purposes only, and does not constitute legal advice or create an attorney-client relationship. This article does not make any guarantees as to the outcome of a particular matter, as each matter has its own set of circumstances and must be evaluated individually by a licensed attorney.