California Reinstates COVID Sick Pay
The newly signed supplemental COVID paid sick leave Senate Bill 114 has officially gone into effect as of February 9, 2022. This new guidance requires California employers with 26 or more employees to provide up to 80 hours of COVID paid sick leave to employees through September 1, 2022.
Some important things to note:
- This requirement is retroactive from January 1, 2022, which means if a qualified employee requests this leave retroactively for an illness from January 1, 2022, until now, employers need to pay it.
- Employees are eligible for COVID supplemental sick pay for COVID related quarantine or isolation order as defined under law, COVID-related self-quarantine or isolation order as per the recommendation of a health care professional, attendance of an appointment by employee or family member for a vaccine, booster, illness due to vaccine or booster, to seek medical care for COVID symptoms, to care for a family member subject to quarantine or isolation order as per the law or advise of a health care professional, to care for a child whose school/daycare is closed or unavailable due to COVID on the premises and for situations in which the employee tests positive or is the caretaker for a family member who tests positive.
- Employees are entitled to 80 total hours of supplemental sick pay which is categorized into two (2) 40-hour buckets of sick leave under this new law as follows:
- If an employee tests positive or is the caretaker for a family member who tests positive for COVID, the employee is entitled to 40 hours of COVID sick leave.
- Employees are eligible for an additional 40 hours of COVID sick leave for other situations such as quarantine or isolation, medical treatment, vaccine appointments or recovery, when experiencing COVID symptoms, or where there is a school/daycare closure related to COVID.
- There is currently no structure in place to reimburse employers for the COVID supplemental sick leave pay.
- While this legislation is effective immediately, employers have until February 19th to implement their new COVID supplemental sick pay policies and issue related payments
- More information will be released by the Department of Industrial Relations about this leave in the coming days.
Mask Ordinance Revised
California health officials have announced much-anticipated changes to the state’s mask rules. As of February 16, 2022, individuals who are vaccinated may remove their masks in most indoor settings, including eight Bay Area counties – Alameda (including the City of Berkeley), Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Solano, and Sonoma. Santa Clara is the only county in the Bay Area that will keep its indoor mask rules in place after the statewide mandate is lifted.
Mask will continue to be required in high-risk settings across California such as health care facilities, K-12 schools, and childcare facilities, public transit, long-term congregate living settings, homeless shelters, and correctional facilities. Unvaccinated people must continue to wear masks in all indoor public settings.
The state will require masks, proof of vaccination, and a negative COVID test for Super Bowl LVI this weekend, so mask up if you are headed to the game!