The California COVID paid leave extension is in effect.
A day before it was set to expire, Gov. Gavin Newsom in late September 2022 signed the extended supplemental paid leave law, which now runs through Dec. 31, 2022.
There are also some changes under the law, AB 152, which employers should note moving forward.
Also, the law requires employers to display an updated labor law poster. It’s required for all employers, public or private, with more than 25 employees. (See the updated bill for information for small employers.)
Paid Leave Management. Simplified.
California COVID-19 Paid Leave
Notably, the extended California COVID Supplemental Paid Sick Leave Law does not create new hours of leave for employees.
Instead, the extension allows employees who have not already used all of their COVID-19 paid leave to use it through the end of the year.
As a reminder:
- Full-time employees are entitled to a maximum of two separate 40-hour banks of paid leave
- For employees working less than full time, they receive the total number of hours they are normally scheduled to work over one week for each bank of leave
- For employees who works variable hours, it’s seven times the average number of hours they work each day for the employee’s entire period of employment preceding their leave date
Likewise, the covered reasons for use also remain the same.
The first 40 hours can be used for the following reasons:
- Employee tests positive for COVID-19 and is unable to work
- Employee needs to care for a family member who tests positive for COVID-19
The second 40 hours can be used for the following reasons:
- Isolation or quarantine for employee or family member
- Vaccine appointments for employee or family member
- Symptoms from vaccine or booster for employee or caring for family member with those issues
- Seeking a COVID-19 medical diagnosis
- Caring for a child whose school or place of care has been closed for COVID-19 related reasons
Updates Under the California COVID Paid Leave Extension
Still, there are two changes to California’s COVID-19 paid leave law for employers to note.
One involves testing. Employers can require employees to submit to a diagnostic test on or after the fifth day after the initial positive test result and provide the results to the employer. In addition, if the test is positive, employers can require workers to submit to a second diagnostic test within no less than 24 hours.
If an employee is caring for a family member who has tested positive, the employer may require the employee to provide documentation of the family member’s test result.
Also, if an employee refuses to take an additional test or submit documentation, the employer would not have to provide the supplemental paid sick leave.
The second change creates a California Small Business and Nonprofit COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave Relief Grant Program, which is aimed at helping smaller employers deal with the costs of providing paid leave. See the bill text for further details.
COVID-19 Paid Leave Laws
Much of the U.S. has seen its COVID-19 employment laws expire. For instance, employers with locations in New York should note that the city’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate will become optional Nov. 1, 2022.
But there are still some paid leave laws related to the pandemic that employers must keep an eye on. They include:
- Long Beach, Calif. – Upon recommendation
- City of Los Angeles – End of health emergency
- Los Angeles County – End of health emergency
- Oakland, Calif. – End of health emergency
- Nevada – Dec. 31, 2023
- New York City – Dec. 31, 2022
- New York State – Dec. 31, 2023/end of health emergency (recently extended)
- Philadelphia – End of 2023
- Washington State (food sector) – End of health emergency
- Seattle (gig workers) – End of health emergency
Employers that operate in California should prepare for another few months of supplemental COVID-19 paid leave. As always, consult legal counsel for details on the California COVID paid leave extension.