California Passes Supplemental Paid Sick Leave Law

Friday September 18, 2020

On September 9, 2020, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed Act 1867 (“AB 1867”) that provides additional paid sick leave for employees of companies with 500 or more employees. AB 1867 fills in gaps left open by the Federal Act on Relief for Families with First Coronavirus (“FFCRA”) (previously discussed here) and the Executive Order signed by Newson on April 22, 2020, which are only applicable to essential food workers (previously here discussed) was true.

The sick leave provisions of the law are effective immediately and the insured employers must make the vacation available by September 19, 2020 at the latest.

Who does the law apply to?

The law applies to all employees of private companies with 500 or more employees in the United States. The employees are counted as in the FFCRA, 29 CFR § 826.40.

AB 1867 also includes employees of public institutions who employ health care providers or rescue workers and have chosen to exclude those employees from paid sick leave under the FFCRA.

The insured employee must leave home or another place of residence in order to work for the employer.

What are the benefits?

The employee is entitled to additional paid sick leave at an hourly rate which is the highest of:

An employer is not required to pay additional paid sick leave of more than $ 511 per day for a total of $ 5,110 – the maximum benefit allowed under federal law.

AB 1867 prohibits an employer from requiring an employee to take any other paid or unpaid vacation, paid time off, or period of vacation in lieu of or before taking the additional paid sick leave COVID-19.

How much vacation must be allowed?

  • Under this new law, full-time employees or employees who are supposed to work an average of at least 40 hours per week in the two weeks prior to taking vacation are entitled to 80 hours of additional paid sick leave.

  • Part-time employees with a normal weekly schedule are entitled to additional paid sick leave equal to the total number of hours the employee is normally expected to work for the employer over two weeks.

  • Part-time workers with variable hours can have fourteen times the average hours worked per day by workers in the six months preceding the date of the additional paid sick leave. For part-time employees who have worked for the employer for less than six months but more than fourteen days, the number of hours is calculated over the entire period in which the employee worked for the employer.

  • If the part-time employee has variable hours and has worked for the employer for a period of 14 days or less, the employee is entitled to sick leave equal to the total number of hours worked.

If an employer has already granted additional paid leave of March 4, 2020 for the reasons stated in the law, but has not paid the employee at least the amount provided by law, the employer can retroactively grant the employee an additional wage. When an employer does so, the previous sick leave will count towards the total number of hours of additional paid sick leave that the employee is entitled to.

If an employer has already granted an employee an additional benefit such as additional paid vacation for the reasons and at a legally stipulated amount, these hours are offset against the total number of hours of additional paid vacation to which the employee is entitled.

When services are provided

Immediately upon verbal or written request, an insured employer must grant an employee additional paid sick leave if the employee cannot work because:

  • The worker is subject to a state, state, or local quarantine or isolation order with respect to COVID-19.

  • The worker is instructed by a healthcare provider to self-quarantine or self-isolate based on concerns related to COVID-19. or

  • For health reasons in connection with the possible transmission of COVID-19, the employee is prohibited from working by the employee’s employer.

The obligation to provide COVID-19 health insurance ends on December 31, 2020 or after the end of the federal sick leave provided for in the FFCRA, whichever is later. An employee who takes additional paid sick leave after the law has expired can claim the full amount of the additional paid sick leave COVID-19 that the employee is entitled to.

Updated pay slips

Employers need to update their pay slips to reflect the amount of sick leave paid – including the additional sick leave paid available to an employee. The obligation to payroll is only enforceable in the next full wage period after September 9, 2020.

Food sector employees

The law also essentially codifies Executive Ordinance N-51-20 by requiring recruiters to provide additional sick leave to workers in the food sector if they are unable to work due to COVID-19. It also requires all retail stores, prepared, packaged, served, sold or otherwise provided food for human consumption so that workers can wash their hands every 30 minutes and additional when needed. Our report on Executive Order N-51-20 is here.

Note requirements

The employing agencies must display a poster in a conspicuous place containing information about the additional sick leave paid according to the law. If an employer’s employees are not in a workplace, the employer can comply with the termination obligation by disseminating the termination electronically. The work officer will provide additional information on the notification requirements.

© 2020 Epstein Becker & Green, PC All rights reserved.National Law Review, Volume X, Number 262

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