The new supplemental COVID sick leave legislation was signed on February 9, 2022. The new law requires California employers to provide up to 80 hours of paid leave for COVID illness, caring for family members with COVID, COVID vaccinations, and side effects from vaccinations and boosters.
COVID Leave Extended!
Thanks to our political power, the COVID sick leave which was originally set to expire in September has been extended through December 31, 2022.
Who is covered?
All employees of businesses that have more than 25 employees. This includes remote workers as well as in-person workers. Part-time and per diem workers are included and will receive a prorated amount of paid leave hours based on hours worked.
What dates are covered?
Employers are required to provide supplemental COVID sick paid leave from January 1, 2022 to December 31, 2022. That means it’s retroactive to the beginning of this year.
Because the leave is paid for by employers and not the state, the state could not legally require employers to go back further than January 1, 2022.
What can paid leave be used for?
COVID paid leave can be used for any of the following circumstances:
- Experiencing COVID symptoms and seeking a diagnosis.
- If you or a family member has been advised to quarantine or isolate by a healthcare provider or as part of an order by a local/state/federal public health officer.
- Getting vaccinated (including boosters) or accompanying a family member to get vaccinated.
- Recovering from symptoms after getting vaccinated (including boosters) or caring for a family member who is recovering from getting vaccinated.
- Caring for a child whose school or daycare is closed or otherwise unavailable due to COVID on the premises.
How many hours are covered?
Up to 80 hours are covered. Employers are required to provide 40 hours for full time employees.
Employers must provide 40 additional hours if the employee or their family member tests positive for COVID.
Paid leave allowed for recovering from a vaccine/booster can be limited to 24 hours per shot unless the employee provides a doctor’s note that symptoms are ongoing. This also applies to caring for family members recovering from getting vaccinated.
Can my employer require me to use my existing PTO or sick leave first?
No, employers are not allowed to require workers to use their existing PTO or sick leave first. If your employer tells you this, please contact your SEIU-UHW steward immediately.
How do I make sure I get paid for leave I’ve already taken this year?
First, make sure you have the documentation to show that you had COVID-related time off that should be paid for under the new law. For COVID illness or quarantine, get documentation from your doctor or the results from a PCR test taken at the time. If you cared for a family member who was ill or directed to quarantine, get documentation from their doctor and/or school. For time off to recover from side effects from receiving a vaccine shot (including boosters) get a note from your doctor (or if a family member, then their doctor).
Second, reach out to your HR department to find out the process for applying for retroactive pay.
We are also working to get details from as many employers as we can and will share that information as soon as we have it.