URGENT CA: California COVID-19 Sick Leave is Back!

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California Supplemental Paid Sick Leave (CA SPSL) is back. On February 9, 2022, Governor Newsom signed the bill (SB 144) into law. It will be effective on February 19, but the leave time is retroactive to January 1, 2022. Please reach out to your Dedicated HR Manager for how to manage this update.

Here are the highlights:

  • Employers with 26 or more employees are covered.
  • The law will be retroactive to January 1, 2022, and expire on September 30, 2022.
  • The employee is subject to an isolation or quarantine period as defined by the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), or a local public health officer.
  • A health care provider has advised the employee to isolate or quarantine.
  • The employee is attending an appointment for the employee or the employee’s family member to receive a COVID-19 vaccine or booster shot.
  • The employee is experiencing or taking care of a family member who is experiencing, symptoms relating to the COVID-19 vaccine or booster shot.
  • The employee is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and is seeking a medical diagnosis.

Family Members

For purposes of SPSL, “family member” means parent, child, spouse, registered domestic partner, grandparent, grandchild, and sibling.

Amount of Leave

Full-time employees receive 40 hours of California SPSL. If an employee has a regular schedule but is not employed full time, the employee is entitled to the number of hours that the employee regularly works in one week. Employees who work variable hours are subject to a different formula.

Additional Leave

Full-time employees may receive up to 40 hours of additional California SPSL for themselves if they test positive for COVID-19 and cannot telework. If the employer requires the employee to do so, the employee must take a second diagnostic test on or after the fifth day after the employee took the test that showed the employee tested positive. The employer must pay for the test.

Employees also may take additional leave for caring for a family member if the employee provides a positive test result for the employee’s family member.

Vaccination Leave

An employer may limit the amount of SPSL an employee uses to get a vaccine or vaccine booster shot and to recover from symptoms to 24 hours unless a health care provider confirms that the employee or family member continues to experience symptoms related to a COVID-19 vaccine or booster shot.

Request for Leave

An employer must make SPSL available for immediate use upon an employee’s oral or written request. The employee may decide how many hours of SPSL to use. An employer may not require the employee to use any other paid or unpaid time off (including paid time off (PTO) or vacation time) before allowing the employee to use SPSL.

Rate of Pay

Employers are obligated to pay up to $511 per day or up to $5,100 in the aggregate.


The law requires that the California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE) prepare a notice that employers must post in the workplace. The employer may email the notice to employees who do not visit the workplace on a regular basis.

Important Note

The employer may not apply CA SPSL to exclusion pay required by the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health’s (Cal/OSHA) Emergency Temporary Standards (ETS). Under the ETS, employers must provide employees with exclusion pay if they test positive for COVID-19 because of work or come into close contact with a positive case during the infectious period at work.

An employee’s pay stub must show the amount of SPSL that the employee has used. Under the previous SPSL law, the employer was required to show the amount of SPSL the employee had available.

If you wish to become a client of Guardian HR and get access to all our resources including your own dedicated HR Manager and our team of employment attorneys, please contact us at sales@guardian-hr.com or call us at 888-373-4724.