Governor Gavin Newsom recently signed Senate Bill 95 (SB 95), the COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave bill, after it was passed by the California Legislature last week. The new mandate provides additional paid leave for employees through September 30, 2021. After previous supplemental sick leave benefits expired on December 31, 2020, the provisions of SB 95 are retroactive to January 1, 2021.
“This new SB 95 which was just enacted and goes into effect on the 29th of this month, actually covers all employers public or private with 25 or more employees. So, it’s a huge expansion in the number of employers who are covered,” said Patrick Moody, shareholder of Barsamian & Moody. “For full-time workers, it’s a new bank of 80 hours of paid sick leave for certain COVID-related reasons.”
Part-time employees will also receive additional leave time based on a formula detailed in the new law. The COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave Law also establishes a timeline for employers to address eligible paid leave used since the beginning of the year. “What triggers this is if the employee either orally or in writing requests the paid sick leave under this law, you have to pay that retroactive pay on their next paycheck. You have one paycheck to do it,” Moody explained.
Employers who have been offering COVID-19 sick leave under the federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) are already in compliance with SB 95. If the qualifying reason for taking leave time is the same, the leave taken will run concurrently between FFCRA and SB 95. “Paying people under the continuation of the federal law, that would qualify for the payments under [SB 95]. If you have already paid the benefit, you don’t have to retroactively double pay it,” said Moody.
California’s Division of Labor Standards Enforcement has a published a FAQ sheet that addresses a variety of questions about the new supplemental paid sick leave.
Listen to the interview below.