Motivated by the continued Omicron surge and the resulting labor shortage across California’s workforce, on January 25, 2022, Governor Gavin Newsom and legislative leaders jointly announced that they have reached an agreement to revive last year’s COVID-19 supplemental paid sick leave (“SPSL”) to provide employees with continued access to SPSL through September 30, 2022.
The new leave program would permit:
- Any full-time employee of a company that has 26 or more workers to be granted 40 hours of paid leave due to COVID. If the worker shows proof that they or a family member has tested positive, they will be granted an extension by 40 more hours.
- The requirement for part-time workers would be the number of hours the worker typically worked in a week, to start with, and then that same amount again if the worker shows proof of a positive test.
The leave program does not cover getting the vaccine or recovering from any side effects, which in that instance, the worker would receive 24 hours of paid leave.
Employers can expect some relief, as the new leave program will:
- Restore business tax credits, including research and development credits and net operating losses
- Provide tax relief for recipients of federal relief grants for restaurants and closed venues
- Provide additional funding for the Small Business COVID-19 Relief Grant Program
Additional funding will also be provided to:
- Strengthen testing capacity to accelerate vaccination and booster efforts
- Provide support to frontline workers
- Strengthen the health care system
- Battle misinformation
Notably, the proposed SPSL program is not yet in effect, and still must be fast-tracked through the legislative process. In the meantime, employers should continue to follow applicable local, state, and Cal/OSHA requirements.
As additional guidance is issued, we will keep you informed.