California Governor Newsom extends CA’s COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave (CA SPSL)

Background: CA SPSL has been around since 2020, but many thought it would come to an end this month. However, Governor Newsom signed an extension into law which will further extend SPSL coverage to 12/31/22.

What is it? A COVID-19 supplemental paid sick leave bill that provides sick leave to employees.

A covered employee is an employee who is unable to work or telework for an employer because of a qualifying reason further explained in our previously published article.

The extension includes two changes to the current version as well as a new relief program for qualified small businesses to recover expenses related to providing SPSL.

Which employers must comply? Public or private employers with 26 or more employees.

When is it effective?  The extended deadline and changes will go into effect immediately.

Note: the extended deadline does not entitle employees to additional leave if leave has already been exhausted.

What are the other changes to the current version of SPSL? The new changes are reflected in Assembly Bill 152.

  1. Testing: if an employee tests positive and the employer requires a positive test result within 5 days, the employer may then require the employee to submit a second diagnostic test within no less than 24 hours. Caution: SPSL makes it clear that the employer must provide the tests at no cost to the employee.
  2. Employers do not have to provide additional SPSL to an employee who tests positive and refuses to provide documentation as outlined above.
  3. A relief grant program will be established to assist qualified small businesses or nonprofits that incur costs up to $50,000 for SPSL. Grants awarded “shall only be for reimbursement of COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave provided between January 1, 2022, and December 31, 2022. Applicants shall provide proof of employee payroll records that verify all COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave provided by the applicant.”
    • AB 152 automatically repeals this provision on 1/1/24.

Qualified small businesses or nonprofits are defined in AB 152 and includes some exceptions. For the complete definition, be sure to review the requirements listed in the bill. Here is the criteria for “qualified small business or nonprofit”:

  • Is a “C” or “S” corporation, cooperative, limited liability company, partnership or limited partnership
    • OR is a registered 501(c)(3), 501(c)(6), or 501(c)(19)
  • Began operating before 6/1/21
  • Is currently active and operating
  • Has 26 to 49 employees and provides payroll data and an affidavit, signed under penalty of perjury, attesting to the fact. The bill states that the number of employees is calculated by the number of full-time employees that have worked for the employer, without any break in employment, for the past 24 months.
  • Has provided SPSL pursuant to the requirements of the law
  • Provides organizing documents, including a 2020 or 2021 tax return or Form 990, and a copy of official filing with the Secretary of State or with the local municipality, as applicable, including, but not limited to, Articles of Incorporation, Certificate of Organization, Fictitious Name of Registration, or Government-Issued Business License.

Caution: Some small businesses and non-profits may not qualify based on the criteria set forth. These include businesses or nonprofits without a physical presence in the state, financial institutions or businesses primarily engaged in the business of lending such as banks, finance companies and factoring companies, businesses that restrict patronage for any reason other than capacity, and more.

When does CA SPSL expire?  December 31, 2022

Can an employer require a worker to use other paid leave first?  No.  This leave must be in addition to any other supplemental paid leave.

About Michelle Cammayo

Michelle Cammayo has more than 13 years of Employee Benefits experience specializing in all lines of health and welfare benefits. Today, Michelle works closely with clients and partners to provide guidance in areas of the law including ERISA, HIPAA, COBRA, FMLA and PPACA. She also oversees the Compliance Department at Bolton & Company to ensure we are helping our clients manage and eliminate risk with regards to employee benefit compliance.

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