California has enacted legislation (Assembly Bill 1867) that extends COVID-19 supplemental paid sick leave to more employees in the state. Assembly Bill 1867 takes effect no later than 10 days after September 9, 2020. The law expires on December 31, 2020, or upon the expiration of any extension of the federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act (Public Law 116-127), whichever is later.
The federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) requires employers with fewer than 500 employees to provide emergency paid sick leave to employees who are unable to work (or telework) because of certain reasons related to COVID-19. Under the federal law, employers of healthcare providers and emergency responders may exclude these employees from emergency paid sick leave. The FFCRA is in effect from April 1, 2020 to December 31, 2020, unless extended.
In April, Governor Gavin Newsom signed Executive Order N-51-20 entitling food-sector workers to COVID-19 supplemental paid sick leave (SPSL), provided they work for an entity with 500 or more employees nationwide.
Assembly Bill 1867:
Among other things, Assembly Bill 1867 codifies the COVID-19 SPSL requirements for food-sector workers and extends the requirements to additional workers.
Assembly Bill 1867 extends the COVID-19 SPSL entitlement to all individuals who are:
- Employed by a hiring entity with 500 or more employees in the United States; or
- Employed as a health care provider or emergency responder by a hiring entity that has elected to exclude such employees from the FFCRA's emergency paid sick leave requirements.
Amount of COVID-19 SPSL:
Under Assembly Bill 1867, covered workers are entitled to up to 80 hours of COVID-19 SPSL if they're either considered full time or worked or were scheduled to work on average at least 40 hours per week in the two weeks preceding the date of leave.
Part-time employees are generally entitled to the total number of hours they're normally scheduled to work over two weeks. There are special rules for part-time employees who work variable schedules and for firefighters. See the text of the law for details.
Use of COVID-19 SPSL:
Covered workers may use COVID-19 SPSL for when they're:
- Subject to a federal, state, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19.
- Advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine or self-isolate due to concerns related to COVID-19.
- Prohibited from working by the covered worker's hiring entity due to health concerns related to the potential transmission of COVID-19.
Employers must make leave available to covered workers for immediate use upon an oral or written request.
Pay During Leave:
Each hour of COVID-19 SPSL must be compensated at a rate equal to or greater than the highest of the:
- Worker's regular rate of pay for the last pay period;
- State minimum wage; or
- Local minimum wage to which the covered worker is entitled.
However, each worker's COVID-19 SPSL is subject to a cap of $511 per day and $5,110 total.
Employers are required to post a notice regarding COVID-19 SPSL. The Labor Commissioner will make a model notice publicly available for employers to display. For workers who don't frequent a workplace, an employer may satisfy this requirement by disseminating the notice electronically, such as by e-mail.
Employers must also provide employees with information on the amount of COVID-19 SPSL they have available on either itemized wage statements or a separate notice provided each payday. This requirement won't be enforced until the next full pay period following enactment.
Interplay with Other Leave:
COVID-19 SPSL is in addition to any paid sick leave that the covered employee receives under Labor Code Section 246. Employers are prohibited from requiring an employee to use any other paid or unpaid leave in place of COVID-19 SPSL.
If an employer already provides a covered worker with paid leave that is payable for the reasons listed above and that would compensate the covered worker in an amount equal to or greater than the amount required for COVID-19 SPSL, the employer may count those hours toward the total number of hours of COVID-19 SPSL. Under this provision, the other paid leave may not include paid sick leave to which the employee is entitled under Labor Code Section 246.
Employers with employees covered by the COVID-19 SPSL requirements should ensure compliance. Please contact your dedicated service professional with any questions.