On March 19, Governor Gavin Newsom signed a bill that codifies the supplemental paid sick leave for employees stricken by Covid-19 that he had, in part, covered with an executive order last year.

This new law will be more extensive and expensive for California employers than the federal provisions that ended December 31 or the governor’s order, mainly covering food workers.

The bill, known as SB 95, is now state law under an emergency clause and is retroactive to January 1. There are 28 separate changes to existing labor law covered by SB 95 including: 

  • The measure covers all employers with 25 or more workers (previous actions set the trigger at 500 employees).
  • Authorizes the employee to determine how many hours of COVID-19 supplemental paid sick leave to use, up to the total number of hours provided under the section, and specifies that the employers shall make the supplemental sick leave available for immediate use by the employee upon request.
  • It caps the amount paid to $511 per day or $5110 for the two weeks (80 hours) of supplemental sick pay.
  • Employers must use the supplemental pay before activating payments from existing sick pay benefits.
  • Covers workers whose doctors told them to self-quarantine and those who suffered from the disease.
  • It also includes workers who had to stay home to help care for a family member, as defined in existing law under subdivision (c) of Section 245.5 of the Labor Code 
  • Caring for a child, as defined by existing law under subdivision (c) of Section 245.5 of the Labor Code, whose school or place of care is closed due to COVID-19.
  • Attending an appointment to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, 
  • Experiencing symptoms related to a COVID-19 vaccine that prevents the employee from being able to work
  • Requires the Labor Commissioner to make publicly available a model notice for employers to display a poster regarding COVID-19 supplemental paid sick leave. A hiring entity may satisfy this requirement for workers who do not frequent a workplace by disseminating notice through electronic means, such as by electronic mail.

On the good news side of the ledger, an extension of the Federal payroll tax credit that was established in the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (which was due to expire March 31) now has a new end date—September 30, 2021, for eligible employers with 500 employees or less. 

As well, we will see Memorandums of Agreement with our various union partners extending current agreements.

You can read the bill as signed into law is at //leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billAnalysisClient.xhtml ?bill_id=202120220SB95.

By Ray Baca Executive Director Email: [email protected]