2022 COVID-19 Supplemental California Paid Sick Leave (SPSL | CPSL)
By Trüpp’s Compliance Team
Similar to California’s 2021 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave law (CPSL), California has passed a new version of the law for 2022, the 2022 COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave law (SPSL)*. The 2022 COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave law takes effect immediately and is retroactive to January 01, 2022. However, the employer’s obligation to provide SPSL does not start until Feb 19, 2022. The SPSL is effective through September 30, 2022, but if an employee is using SPSL on the expiration date, the leave continues for that absence. Here is an overview of what employers need to know about the new law.
Applies to all private and public employers with 26 or more employees.
Employers do not receive tax or financial relief from SPSL.
Obligation to provide SPSL begins Feb 19, 2022.
Retroactive to January 01, 2022.
The SPSL is effective through September 30, 2022.
Employees using SPSL on the expiration date are entitled to coverage through the duration of that leave of absence.
Employees may begin utilizing SPSL beginning February 19th, 2022, when requested (verbally or in writing).
Employers may require employees to provide documentation of test results when leave is taken due to a positive COVID-19 test, and leave can be denied if the documentation is not received. Employers may also require documentation for leave longer than three days or 24 work hours to recover from a vaccine or booster.
SPSL information must be available on paystubs or other written requirements received on payday. The paystub must show 2022 SPSL hours used, reporting “0” if none.
An employer may offset SPSL obligations, but only if an organization was subject to local ordinances effective in 2022, that required supplemental paid sick leave.
Reasons for leave:
If an employee is subject to a quarantine or isolation period related to COVID-19 as defined by federal, state, or local orders or guidance;
If an employee is advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine or isolate due to concerns related to COVID-19;
An employee or employee’s family member is attending an appointment to receive a COVID-19 vaccine or booster;
An employee or family member is experiencing symptoms related to a COVID-19 vaccine or booster that prevent the employee from being able to work or telework;
An employee is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and seeking a medical diagnosis;
An employee is caring for a family member who is subject to a quarantine or isolation order or guidance or who has been advised to self-quarantine or isolate by a health care provider due to concerns related to COVID-19;
An employee is caring for a child whose school or place of care is closed or otherwise unavailable for reasons related to COVID-19 on the premises; or
An employee tests positive or is caring for a family member who tests positive, for COVID-19.
Amount of leave available:
Covered employees may utilize up to 80 hours which is broken into two separate 40-hour leave banks:
Bank one is available if an employee tests positive for COVID-19, or is caring for a family member who tests positive for COVID-19.
Bank two is available for the remaining covered reasons:
Quarantine or isolation;
Vaccine appointments or recovery. Appointment times can be limited by the employer to 3 days or 24 hours, additional time may be available if a health care provider verifies prolonged symptoms related to vaccine or booster; Experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and seeking a medical diagnosis; and
Closure of school or place of care for reasons related to COVID-19 exposure.
How to calculate the amount of leave available:
Full-time employees (or on average worked or were scheduled to work at least 40 hours per week in two weeks prior to leave) are eligible for up to 40 hours for each bank of leave
Non-full-time employees are those employees with a normal weekly schedule, that is less than full time, are eligible to receive SPSL equivalent to the total hours they are normally scheduled to work, over one week for each bank of leave.
Employees with variable hours
Have been employed for six months or more, receive seven times the average number of hours they worked each day, six months prior to leave
Worked between eight days to six months, receive seven times the average number of hours worked each day prior to leave
Have been employed seven days or less, receive hours equal to the total number of hours worked for each bank
The maximum payout for both exempt and non-exempt employees is $511 for each day an employee uses SPSL or no more than $5,110 total.
Pay rate for non-exempt (hourly) employees:
Option one, “regular” pay rate: This refers to the ‘regular’ rate of pay that the employee earns, not including any overtime hours.
Option two, “90-day lookback” pay rate: Total amount of earnings in the last 90 days (only full pay periods included) which is then divided by the number of hours, not to include overtime hours, to calculate the lookback pay rate. Some exceptions may be made for piece-rate or commission employees.
*The California Labor Commissioner’s website refers to the new 2022 law with the acronym SPSL, the 2021 law was referred to as CPSL. Be aware that many law firms and other resources are referring to both laws with the acronym, CPSL.