SB 95, signed into law on March 19, 2021, expands the COVID-19 related supplemental paid sick leave (SPSL) law that expired on December 31, 2020, and creates a new allotment of 80 hours of COVID-19 related sick leave for covered employees in 2021. SB 95 is slightly different than the old CA-SPSL law and applies to all employers with more than 25 employees. SB 95 also expands covered uses and allows employees to take COVID-19 SPSL whenever they are unable to work or telework, meaning that the new law applies even to individuals who do not leave home for work.
PRISM Risk Control discussed SB 95 with Patti Eyres, Managing Partner of Eyres Law Group. Here are some important facts about the new CA-SPSL bill:
- SB 95 expands the list of qualified employees and includes new covered reasons for leave to include when the employee cannot telework or work because the covered employee:
- Is attending an appointment to receive a vaccine for protection against contracting COVID-19
- Is experiencing side effects related to a COVID-19 vaccine that renders the employee unable to work
- SB 95 expands the number of employees who fall under the requirements of the COVID-19 SPSL requirement
- SB 95 more closely aligns with the method of payment for regular non-COVID related sick leave. It requires employers to pick the rate of pay calculation that compensates covered employees at the highest of:
- Their regular rate during the workweek in which they take the COVID-19 SPSL (whether or not the employee actually works overtime that week)
- The employee’s total wages divided by the employee’s total hours worked in the full pay periods of the prior 90 days of employment (not including overtime premium pay)
- The state minimum wage
- The local minimum wage to which the covered employee is entitled
- SB 95 provides for a TOTAL of 80 additional hours of COVID-19 SPSL on top of whatever the employee may have taken in 2020
- It is important to note that it is a MAXIMUM of 80 hours of leave. Therefore if an employee has received sick pay from another source such as through a county or city sick leave act, then it’s still a total of 80 hours
- SB 95 applies retroactively to COVID-19 SPSL taken from January 1, 2021, until the date the law becomes effective. Employees can request retroactive payments verbally or by written request.
Like the previous CA-SPSL, SB 95 leave has to be made available upon written or oral request. Employers are also required to provide employees with a notice of rights to supplemental paid sick leave, and the Labor Commissioner has published a 2021 COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave notice to assist employers with their required employee notification.
SB 95 is in effect until September 30, 2021.
For questions or additional assistance regarding SB95, the COVID-19 SPSL Request Form, or the Retroactive Written Request, we encourage members to utilize the Labor Law/Employment Practices Services by reaching out to Patti Eyres.