California’s COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave (SPSL) has been extended until December 31, 2022 under AB-152; however, this extension does not provide employees with additional hours of SPSL. The bill also allows employers to require additional COVID-19 testing in certain circumstances. The state is also establishing a grant program to reimburse qualifying small businesses and non-profits for SPSL costs. Governor Gavin Newsom signed AB-152 into law on September 29, 2022.
Here are the highlights of the newest changes
COVID-19 SPSL is now extended through December 31, 2022; it was previously set to expire on September 30, 2022. This extension doesn’t provide employees with additional hours of SPSL; employees who have already used or exhausted their SPSL bank(s) are not entitled to more. Employees are still subject to a cap of 80 total hours of SPSL in 2022. This is still divided into two buckets of 40 hours each of leave with separate purposes and requirements. A few leaves may extend into 2023 because an employee who is taking SPSL on December 31, 2022, is allowed to continue the remainder of their covered absence uninterrupted.
Employers can now require employees to take a third COVID-19 test as a condition of continuing to receive SPSL. Employees are entitled to up to 40 hours of Standard SPSL for various COVID-19-related reasons, but can also access an additional bank of up to 40 hours of Positive Test SPSL if they, or a family member, test positive for COVID-19.
If the employee tests positive and is asking to use Positive Test SPSL, employers could already require that they submit to a second COVID-19 test at least five days later as a condition of continuing to receive SPSL. Now, if the second test result is also positive, employers can require a third COVID-19 test 24 hours or more after the second test. Employers can deny the employee’s request for additional SPSL if they refuse to take the test or provide documentation of the results.
Grants for Qualified Small Businesses and Non-profits
Small businesses and non-profits that have between 26 and 49 full-time employees can apply for a grant of up to $50,000 to reimburse SPSL costs for leave provided in 2022. Employers must meet certain eligibility criteria to qualify for the funds. For additional information, contact the California Office of the Small Business Advocate.
What actions do Employers need to take?
SPSL policies should be updated to reflect that it applies through December 31, 2022, and to indicate that you may require employees to take an additional COVID-19 test if their previous required test result is positive.
For the legislation on AB-152, please visit: