California COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave Extended Until Year End with Potential Grants

Jai HookerLegislative Updates

California COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave Extended Until Year End with Potential Grants

Susan E. Groff, Cepideh Roufougar & Cecilie E. Read

Jackson Lewis P.C.

California has extended COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave (SPSL) through Dec. 31, 2022. On Sept. 29, 2022, California’s Governor signed Assembly Bill (AB) 152 which amends the existing SPSL law and provides for state grants to certain employers.

Changes to Supplemental Paid Sick Leave

The previous version of SPSL was passed in February 2022 and required employers with 26 or more employees to provide additional paid leave for certain COVID-19-related reasons. This law was scheduled to expire on Sept. 30, 2022.

Under existing law, full-time employees receive one bank of up to 40 hours of leave that can be used for a variety of qualifying reasons. A full-time employee can receive an additional bank of 40 hours of leave if they test positive for COVID or are caring for a covered family member who tests positive, and they produce proof of that positive test result. Part-time employees receive pro-rated banks based on formulas specified in the law. Existing law also allows an employer to require submission to a diagnostic test on or after the fifth day an employee reports testing positive for COVID-19.

AB 152 amends the existing SPSL law to permit additional testing if an employee continues to test positive after taking any test required on or after the fifth day. Under the amended law, an employer can require that the employee submit to a second diagnostic test that is taken no earlier than at least 24 hours after any positive result on a test taken on or after the fifth day. The amended law also provides that an employer has no obligation to provide additional paid leave if an employee refuses to comply with the employer’s required return to work diagnostic tests.

AB 152 also extends the availability of SPSL to Dec. 31, 2022. While SPSL will now be available through the end of the year, AB 152 does not provide an additional bank of time to those employees who may have already exhausted their allotted SPSL for the year.

Grants for Small Business and Non-Profits

AB 152 establishes the California Small Business and Nonprofit COVID-19 Relief Grant Program within the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development, also known as GO-Biz to assist qualified small businesses or nonprofits that are incurring costs for COVID-19 supplemental paid sick leave. The bill requires GO-Biz to provide grants to qualified small businesses or nonprofits. These provisions of the bill will expire on Jan. 1, 2024.

As an urgency bill, AB 152 takes effect immediately.

***This article originally appeared on the Jackson Lewis’ Disability, Leave & Health Management blog and was reposted on the DMEC website with their permission.***