California’s COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave (SPSL) law, previously set to expire in September, was extended to December 31. While you may be preparing to move past the set of obligations that came along with this law, there are some critical compliance points to keep in mind as you finish the year. Although the law is set to expire in a matter of days, you should keep these three things in mind as you wrap up 2022.
Employees Must Be Permitted to Finish SPSL That Begins Before Expiration of the Law
Employers who have kept up with our prior insights on this law know that the extension of the law did not provide employees with any additional SPSL time. Any leave that is not requested by December 31 does not roll over but is instead forfeited by the employee. Importantly, that means you may face a flurry of year-end requests for paid sick leave over the next few days.
Employees who have remaining SPSL (in either bucket) must be permitted to request it until the end of the year. If an employee begins SPSL leave before the end of the year, they must be permitted to complete the leave for that qualifying event – even if it extends into the new year. For example, if an employee requests SPSL on December 31 for having contracted COVID-19, and has 80 hours of SPSL left, they can use that time while they are excluded from work even though their time off extends past the expiration of the law.
Local SPSL Ordinances
Second, employers should keep in mind that there are a few local jurisdictions in California with their own SPSL ordinances that are tied to their respective COVID-19 emergency declaration period. If you operate in or your employees work in any of these jurisdictions, your employees may still be entitled to SPSL under a local ordinance. Check with your Fisher Phillips attorney if you are unclear about this potential additional obligation.
Finally, we will say goodbye to exclusion pay soon. The exclusion pay obligations will end when the new “permanent” Cal/OSHA regulation replaces the current version of the Emergency Temporary Standard, which is expected to happen in January 2023. You can read more about this here and by attending our webinar by registering here.