Legislature Releases Early Budget Action Item for COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave Plan
Foretold in the 2022 Proposed Governor’s Budget, the Legislature released their current plan for an Early Budget Action Item related to COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave on Wednesday.
Under the text of AB 84 (Committee on Budget), this round of proposed Supplemental Paid Sick Leave contains notable differences from the previous Supplemental Paid Sick Leave provided in 2021 and will be effective January 1, 2022 (retroactive) and sunsets on September 30, 2022. AB 84 makes various statutory changes to extend COVID-19 supplemental paid sick leave provisions that were included in SB 95 but expired on September 30, 2021. First, it reestablishes the COVID-19 supplemental paid sick leave for employers, as defined under existing law, who have more than 25 employees. Second, although it caps total leave under AB 84 to 80 hours total, it creates two distinct buckets of leave. The first bucket includes up to one week or 40 hours for the following reasons:
- Subject to quarantine or isolation related to COVID-19 as defined by the State Department of Public Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or a local health officer who has jurisdiction over the workplace;
- Advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID-19;
- Attending an appointment to receive a COVID-19 vaccine or a vaccine booster;
- Experiencing symptoms related to a COVID-19 vaccine or a vaccine booster that prevents the employee from being able to work;
- Experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, and is seeking a medical diagnosis;
- Caring for a family member, as defined in existing law under subdivision © of Section 245.5 of the Labor Code, who is subject to quarantine or isolation; or
- Caring for a child, as defined by existing law under subdivision © of Section 245.5 of the Labor Code, whose school or place of care is closed due to COVID-19.
- (ADDED) Attending an appointment to receive a COVID-19 vaccine or a vaccine booster for the employee’s family member; or
- (ADDED) Caring for a family member who has symptoms from a COVID-19 vaccine or a vaccine booster.
Additionally, AB 84 adds that for each vaccination or vaccine booster, an employer may limit the total COVID-19 supplemental paid sick leave for symptoms to 3 days or 24 hours unless the employee provides verification from a health care provider that the covered employee or their family member is continuing to experience symptoms related to a COVID-19 vaccine or a vaccine booster. Other important tenants in this legislation include:
- Entitles a covered employee, in addition to the COVID-19 supplemental paid sick leave described above, to take up to 40 more hours of COVID-19 supplemental paid sick leave if the covered employee, or a family member for whom the covered employee is providing care, tests positive for COVID-19.
- Caps all leave provided under this benefit to 80 hours total.
- Authorizes the employer to require the covered employee, if that employee tests positive, to submit to another test on or after the fifth day after the first positive test and provide documentation of those results.
- Authorizes the employer to require the covered employee to provide documentation of a family member’s test result before paying the additional COVID-19 supplemental paid sick leave, as applicable.
- Specifies that the employer has no obligation to provide additional COVID-19 supplemental paid sick leave if the employee refuses to provide documentation of a test result.
- States that the employee is not required to exhaust the initial flexible 40 hours of COVID-19 supplemental paid sick leave before accessing the 40 hours additionally provided as a result of a positive COVID-19 test.
- Specifies that an employer shall not require a covered employee to use other paid leave or unpaid leave before the employee uses COVID-19 supplemental paid sick leave or in lieu of such leave, including that this COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave not first be exhausted prior to use of Cal/OSHA COVID-19 exclusion pay.
CSAC remains engaged on this proposed legislation in an effort to mitigate administrative impacts to counties.