California COVID-19 Leave Law
Under a new law, California employers with more than 25 employees must provide up to 80 new hours of supplemental paid sick leave for specific COVID-19-related reasons. The leave requirement takes effect March 29, 2021, but is retroactive to Jan. 1, 2021.
Reasons for Leave
Employees may take leave if they cannot work or telework because of:
Retroactivity of Leave
Employees who took qualifying leave between Jan. 1 and March 28, 2021, may request payment from their employers for that leave under the new law. Leave pay is subject to daily and total maximums. The leave must be provided in addition to other paid or unpaid leave, but employers may be credited for leave taken since Jan. 1 that meets supplemental paid leave requirements.
Employers must post a notice about the leave entitlement.
Employers should ensure their policies comply with the new leave, notice and recordkeeping requirements of the law. The California Department of Industrial Relations (DIR) has published FAQs about the new law.
Amount of Leave
The new COVID-19 supplemental paid sick leave must be provided in addition to any other paid or unpaid leave, paid time off or vacation time provided by the employer. Furthermore, employers are prohibited from requiring employees to use any other leave before using the new leave. However, employers may require an employee excluded from the workplace under the Cal-OSHA COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standards or the Cal-OSHA Aerosol Transmissible Diseases Standard to first exhaust their COVID-19 supplemental paid sick leave before having to provide exclusion pay.
Non-exempt employees on leave must be paid the highest of the following:
Supplemental paid sick leave compensation for exempt employees must be the same as other forms of paid leave.