Hot off the presses! The California Labor Commissioner’s Office has now issued its SB 114 model notice for the recently revived COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave ("SPSL”).
Effective February 19, 2022, SB 114 will provide eligible employees working for covered employers with access to SPSL for qualifying COVID-19-related time off work taken between January 1, 2022, and September 30, 2022. Our full article on SB 114 can be accessed here.
These model notices and other related COVID-19 materials are also available on the Department of Industrial Relations’ website here.
The model notices must be posted in a “conspicuous place” in the workplace, and should generally be posted in the same location at which other required workplace notices are posted. Covered employers may also provide the notice electronically or by mail to remote workers. The notices should be posted as soon as possible, and definitely not later than the effective date of the law on February 19, 2022.
The Labor Commission will also be issuing SPSL FAQs in the near future. Those FAQs are not available just yet, but once they are available, the FAQs will be posted here. The website currently says: “The Department of Industrial Relations is updating webpages to provide full details on the new 2022 COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave law … Please check back for updates, including FAQs and workplace postings.”
Once issued, employers should carefully review the FAQs and responses for further clarifying information about the revamped SPSL.
As a reminder, SPSL applies to employers with 26 or more employees. SB 114 applies to both full and part-time employees, and there is no length of service requirement to be eligible for the SPSL entitlement.
Under SB 114, a covered worker is any employee who “is unable to work or telework” for one of the following seven reasons:
Recall also that full-time covered employees are entitled to two buckets of SPSL. The first bucket contains up to 40 hours of SPSL for any of the seven reasons listed above (no proof requirement), and the second bucket entitles covered employees to an additional 40 hours of SPSL if they show proof that they tested positive for COVID, or proof that a family member for whom they are providing care tested positive for COVID. There is no requirement that employees exhaust the first SPSL bucket before using the additional leave provided in the second SPSL bucket for testing positive, or caring for a family member that tests positive.
Note, however, that to be eligible for the second bucket of 40 hours of SPSL, employers may require documentation of the covered employee’s COVID-19 test results, or the test results of the family member for whom the employee is caring. Employers that require such proof must provide the test at no cost. The employer has no obligation to provide benefits from this second bucket of leave for an employee who refuses to provide documentation of the test results. Although the nature of the documentation an employer can request is unclear at the present time, we expect the Labor Commission to provide clarifying FAQs in the near future.
Remember that SPSL must be separated from the employees’ regular California paid sick days or PTO benefits. SPSL must be listed as a separate line item on the pay stub or documented on a separate document issued with the pay stub. In a change from last year’s listing requirements, however, only the amount of SPSL that has been used by a covered employee must be listed, rather than the amount available. For example, if a covered employee used no SPSL in 2022, the statement should list zero hours used. If the employee has used 10 hours of SPSL in 2022, the statement should list 10 hours used.
For further information regarding COVID-19 benefits or other employment law issues, contact the attorneys at LightGabler.