California employers with 26 or more employees will be required to provide additional COVID-19 paid sick leave through the end of 2022 once Governor Gavin Newsom signs Assembly Bill 152 into law, which should be done before the signing deadline. The leave was due to expire on September 30.
The legislation requires eligible employers to continue to provide up to 80 hours of additional paid sick leave to employees unable to work or telecommute for reasons related to COVID-19, including caring for themselves or of a family member with COVID-19. or experience symptoms after receiving a vaccine or booster.
The legislation implements several employer-friendly changes: it creates a relief grant program for qualified small businesses that incur costs related to additional furloughs, and it imposes new COVID-19 testing and documentation requirements. 19 to employees.
Relief grants of up to $50,000 for qualifying small businesses
Qualifying California small businesses and nonprofits will be able to apply for grants of up to $50,000 to help cover costs related to the provision and administration of supplemental paid sick leave. Entities are qualified to apply if they are currently active and began operating before June 1, 2021, have between 26 and 49 employees, and have provided additional paid sick leave as required by law, among other eligibility requirements.
CDA will notify members when the relief program opens and share details on how and where to apply for a grant.
Two “buckets” of additional paid leave
As the CDA previously reported, two separate “bands” of up to 40 hours of leave are available for different purposes and with different eligibility criteria.
Also, as before, employers cannot require employees to exhaust their additional sick leave before receiving exclusion indemnity under the temporary Cal/OSHA COVID-19 emergency standard. Under Cal/OSHA ETS, employers must pay employees who are excluded from the workplace for work-related exposure.
40 hours for qualifying circumstances
Covered employees in California are entitled to 40 hours of additional paid time off if they are unable to work or telecommute for any of the following reasons:
- Are subject to quarantine or isolation related to COVID-19 as required by order or direction (i.e. State Department of Public Health, Centers for Control and disease prevention or local public health department).
- Have been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine for reasons related to COVID-19.
- Have symptoms of COVID-19 and require a medical diagnosis.
- Attend an appointment for themselves or a family member to receive a COVID-19 vaccine or booster.
- Have symptoms or are caring for a family member who has symptoms related to a COVID-19 vaccine or vaccine booster.
- Heal a covered family member who is subject to quarantine or isolation related to COVID-19 or who has been advised by a healthcare provider to self-quarantine due to COVID-19 and/or who is caring for a child whose school or place of care is closed or unavailable due to COVID-19 -19 on site.
Vaccine or booster leave limit
Employees can choose the number of hours to be taken up to the maximum, and employers must make those hours available immediately upon the written or oral request of the employee. However, the employer may limit the total number of additional days off granted per vaccine or booster to three days or 24 hours (depending on the employee’s typical work schedule), unless the employee provides proof of a health care provider that the employee or a family member continues to have symptoms.
40 additional hours with proof of positive COVID test
If a covered employee or a family member of a covered employee tests positive for COVID-19 and the covered employee provides their employer with proof of the positive test result (day five or later from the positive test initial), the employee is entitled to up to 40 additional hours of paid work stoppage.
Employers can require employees to take a second COVID test
The legislation implements two testing and documentation changes that could be seen as favorable to employers.
If an employee tests positive for COVID-19 and the employer requires the employee to submit to a diagnostic test within five days and that test is positive, then the employer may require the employee to submit to a second diagnostic test within 24 hours.
Additionally, employers are not required to provide additional paid sick leave to any employee who tests positive and refuses to provide documentation or submit to employer-required diagnostic testing.
The employer may require and pay for the employee to undergo another test on or after the fifth day of the first positive test and provide documentation of those results.
CDA will notify members when the state accepts relief grant applications. Dentists can learn more about additional paid sick leave in CDA’s resource.