Overview: Senate Bill 114 pays up to 80 hours of COVID leave to employees; employers do not receive financial relief
If you’re a covered employees in the public or private sectors and you’re working with California businesses employers (who have more than 26 employees), you’re relieved to attain an 80 hours of paid sick leave.
As of February 19 2022, Senate Bill (SB) 114 went into effect. This bill is expected to remain in effect through September 30, 2022, immediately upon a written or an oral request made or submitted to the employer.
The bill requires businesses to pay up to 80 hours of COVID leave to employees.
While businesses were able to receive a payroll tax credit for providing the 2021 supplemental COVID leave last year, this COVID pay is covered by the employer and there is no financial relief to the employers this time.
You can read more about the payroll tax credit here.
Businesses should also be aware that this leave is available to employees retroactively to January 1, 2022.
When employees can use the COVID pay:
As directed by the California Department of Public Health, employees may use the COVID pay in the following situations:
- Employee is quarantining due to COVID-19.
- Employee or any of their family members is attending an appointment to receive a COVID-19 vaccine or booster.
- Employee or family member is experiencing symptoms after the vaccine or booster.
- Employee is seeking a medical diagnosis in case of experiencing COVID-19 symptoms.
- Employee is taking care of a family member who is in isolation – in response to advice from a healthcare provider or is subject to a quarantine or isolation order.
- Employee is caring for a child whose school or childcare is closed or unavailable due to COVID-19.
- Employee tests positive for COVID or is caring for a family member who has tested positive for COVID-19.
How the payment works for employees and employers:
As for the payment section, if an employee had taken a leave for any of the above reasons between January 1, 2022 to February 19, 2022, and the leave was unpaid or less compensated than the regular pay rate, the employee has the right to apply for a retroactive payment.
However, payment should be compensated as per the regular pay rate of the employee – not to exceed from $511 per day, or $5, 110 as a whole.
This current Covid Supplemental Sick Leave isn’t i dentical to its 2021 predecessor. To run with the same race, employers in 2022 will need to update their policies section and practices accordingly.
Employees are not able to count the 24 hours of mandated sick pay from the Healthy Families Healthy Workplaces Act towards the 80 hour requirement obligation.
For more on the Health Families Health Workplaces Act of 2014, watch Niki Matthews here.
According to Littler, an employer may count those hours toward the number of hours of CPSL “if an employer pays an employee another benefit for leave taken on or after January 1, 2022 that is payable for the law’s covered reasons and compensates employees in a n amount equal to or greater than the amount of pay the law requires.”
So pre-existing PTO available to employees may cover amounts due under the new COVID-19 pay.
Companies should also be aware that they are required to list the amount of COVID hours on the employees pay stub and that there are different amounts of COVID PTO due for part-time employees compared to full-time employees.
Be sure to discuss with your HR and payroll provider to be sure you are in compliance.
This poster also must be posted in a conspicuous area.Hannah Baldwin, SHRM-CP, PAFM