Governor Newsom has signed Assembly Bill 152 (AB 152) extending the use of COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave (SPSL) from the original expiration date of September 30, 2022 to December 31, 2022. This will apply to CA employers who have more than 25 employees. More notably, this will only continue the 80 SPSL hours allowed earlier this year and does not grant any additional SPSL time off. If an employee already used some or all of their 80 hours of SPSL allowed earlier this year, only the remaining unused balance would be available through the end of this year.
The reasons employees may use SPSL under the new bill remain the same as the current law passed in February 2022 – basically up to 80 hours for a variety of COVID-19 related reasons for the employee or for the employee to care for a family member. We’ve covered these details in many other publications and they are noted on our HR Library. A quick overview is on the mandatory SPSL poster found here.
A couple of employer friendly provisions have been added to AB 152 with this extension:
- The current law allows employers to discontinue SPSL if the employee refuses to provide documentation of a COVID-19 test result. Employers are also allowed to require an employee to submit to another COVID-19 test on or after the fifth day of the first positive test and show documentation of the test results. (Employers must provide the COVID-19 tests at no cost to employees.) AB 152 allows employers to require positive-testing employees to take a second COVID-19 test within no less than 24 hours of the previous test. If the tests results are negative then the employee is no longer eligible for SPSL under the 40 hour allowance (SPSL category #2) for positive test results. Employers do not have to allow additional SPSL for an employee who tests positive but refuses to provide documentation or submit to testing.
- AB 152 establishes the COVID-19 Relief Grant Program. This will allow small businesses and nonprofits to receive up to $50,000 for reimbursement of SPSL provided to employees from January 1, 2022, to December 31, 2022. There are several criteria to be eligible for this grant, most easily identifiable are that the employer has between 26 – 49 employees and began operating before June 1, 2021. Lots of details yet to come on how to collect these funds.
All other provisions of the current law are still in place, including listing the SPSL hours used on wage statements. This is your reminder to check with your payroll provider to extend listing the hours until the end of the year. And keep in mind, the employee can finish out the leave as long as it starts before the deadline.
Please give us a call if you have questions. It’s basically “business as usual” for this particular leave. We have many sample forms and letters for our clients to use when they have positive cases in your workplace.