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Governor Signs COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave Bill

For chief compliance officers, in-house general counsel & legal staff, human resources professionals, risk managers 

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On March 19, Gov. Newsom signed Senate Bill 95, the COVID-19 supplemental paid sick leave bill. As a budget trailer bill, it goes into effect immediately, but employers have until March 29 to come into compliance.  

The law requires employers with more than 25 employees to provide paid sick leave for specified reasons related to COVID-19, retroactive to Jan. 1, 2021. While some aspects of the law are identical to the COVID-19 supplemental paid sick leave law that expired on Dec. 31, 2020, there are some significant differences.

Of note, the law requires a new bank of leave — regardless of how much time an employee used under the 2020 COVID-19 supplemental paid sick leave law. Other differences include the reasons for the leave, the rate to be paid for the leave, a retroactivity component, the ability to take a credit for leave provided after Jan 1., and more.  

The law continues to prohibit employers from requiring documentation in support of the leave unless the employer has other information indicating that the covered employee is not requesting 2021 COVID-19 supplemental paid sick leave for a valid purpose. In any such claim, the reasonableness of the parties’ actions will undoubtedly come into play. The labor commissioner has issued FAQs to assist employers with compliance and has until March 26 to develop a notice to be used by employers.