On March 19, California Governor Gavin Newsome signed CA Senate Bill 95, establishing supplemental paid sick leave for reasons related to COVID-19. This is in addition to the already established sick leave law in California.
The new law went into effect March 29 but is retroactive to January 1, 2021, meaning that an employee who took leave for one of the qualifying reasons between January 1 and March 28 is eligible for payment if they were not already paid an amount established under the law. (See the CA FAQs for all the details.)
The law is applicable to all employers in California with more than 25 employees. Additionally, employers should take note of notice and record-keeping requirements established under the law. Specifically, employers meeting the 25-employee threshold must display the newly required poster in a conspicuous place, or if the covered employees are remote, the employer may distribute the notice through electronic means.
The employer must also notify the employee of the number of hours of supplemental sick leave available to them at the time wages are paid. This can be accomplished via line-item on the employee’s pay statement, or in a separate written notice. However, the employer must ensure that the supplemental sick leave is its own line item, distinct from regular paid sick leave.
This supplemental paid sick leave is to be made available until September 30, 2021, unless extended by law at a later date. Also, employers must ensure that records are kept for a three-year period on regular paid sick days and 2021 COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick days accrued and used, and that the records be made available to the Labor Commissioner or employee upon request.
Covered employees may file a claim with the Labor Commissioner’s Office in the event they are not allowed to use or are not paid for supplemental sick leave in accordance with this law.