COVID-19: California Extends Supplemental Paid Sick Leave Through 2022 (AB 152)
Posted October 3, 2022

Assembly Bill 152, signed by Governor Newsom on September 29, 2022, extends the existing obligation of employers with 26 or more employees to provide COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave (“SPSL”) benefits for an additional three months, from October 1, 2022, through December 31, 2022. Notably, while this law extends the SPSL obligation, it does not create a new bank of SPSL: if covered employees have already used their available SPSL for 2022, no additional SPSL is required. AB 152 is an urgency measure and is effective immediately.

AB 152 also expands diagnostic testing requirements when an employee requests SPSL for their own illness. Before AB 152, an employer could require the employee to take a test after five days have passed since the employee initially tested positive. Under AB 152, the employer may require that the employee submit to a second diagnostic test at least 24 hours after the first test. If the employee does not submit to the tests, the employer is not required to provide additional SPSL. The employer must pay the costs of employer-mandated testing.

For a full refresh on SPSL, review LightGabler's prior SPSL legal update on our website here. Below are a few key reminders:

Who is a “covered employee”?

A covered employee is any employee who “is unable to work or telework” for any one of the qualifying uses listed below. This applies to both full and part-time employees, and there is no length of service eligibility requirement.

What are the qualifying uses for SPSL?

A covered employee is entitled to SPSL if they are unable to work or telework due to any of the following seven reasons:

  1. The covered employee “is subject to a quarantine or isolation period related to COVID-19.”
  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 personally attending an appointment or attending with 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 prevent the employee from being able to work or telework. Note that employers may limit the total sick leave related to each vaccination or booster to three days or 24 hours, unless the employee provides verification from a health care provider that they or their family member is continuing to experience symptoms related to a COVID-19 vaccine/booster.
  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 a quarantine or isolation period or who has been advised by a healthcare provider to isolate or quarantine due to COVID-19.
  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 much SPSL is available?

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 qualifying uses with no proof required. 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. Part-time employees also are entitled to both buckets of SPSL. However, the amount of leave to which they are entitled under either bucket will be prorated based on their schedules.

Does SPSL still have to be shown on the pay stubs?

SPSL must appear as a separate line item on the employee’s itemized wage statement, or in a separate writing provided on the designated pay date. Be sure to show the amount of SPSL that has been used by a covered employee through December 31, 2022.

COVID-19 Relief Grant Program

AB 152 also creates the California Small Business and Non-Profit COVID-19 Relief Grant Program to help qualified small business and non-profits. The program can provide a grant of up to $50,000 to qualified small businesses and non-profits for COVID-19 SPSL costs incurred between January 1, 2022 to December 31, 2022. To qualify for the SPSL Relief Grant, the business or non-profit must meet all of the following criteria (for further details, employers are encouraged to consult with their CPA or tax professional):

  1. The organization must be a “C” or “S” corporation, cooperative, limited liability company, partnership, limited partnership, or a registered 501(c)(3), 501(c)(6), or 501(c)(19);
  2. The organization must have begun operating before June 1, 2021;
  3. The organization must be currently active and on-going;
  4. The organization must have 26-49 employees and must submit payroll data and an affidavit attesting to that fact;
  5. The organization must have provided SPSL pursuant to the requirements of Labor Code sections 248.6 and 248.7; and
  6. The organization must provide organizing documents.

The Labor Commissioner has issued FAQs that can be found here. Covered employers also are required to post the SPSL notice, which can be obtained here.

For further information regarding COVID-19 SPSL benefits or other employment law issues, contact the attorneys at LightGabler.For questions regarding COVID-19 requirements or assistance with other employment law issues, contact the attorneys at LightGabler.

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