California Expands COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave
By Gregory Thyberg on April 06, 2021
Essential workers have faced unprecedented challenges throughout the pandemic. COVID-19 illness, quarantine, or other related issues can place extreme financial burdens on workers. Fortunately, the state legislature has expanded sick leave benefits. With the new law SB 95, California extends COVID-19 supplemental paid sick leave and includes vaccinations. Workers can take time off to quarantine, care for a family member with COVID-19, or get vaccinated without losing pay.
Sacramento, CA, employment law attorney Gregory A. Thyberg helps workers get the compensation they’re due when employers don’t follow the law. Below our law office examines the basics of SB 95 and how the law may apply to you.
The Basics of Senate Bill 95
The California legislature passed SB 95, and the bill was quickly signed into law by Governor Gavin Newsom in Sacramento. This law provides supplemental sick leave benefits to qualifying employees in the event that sick leave is needed due to COVID-19.
The workers’ protections provided by SB 95 are covered through September 30, 2021. In addition, the protections can be retroactively applied to sick leave taken after January 1, 2021, before the bill was signed into law.
SB 95 is an extension of previous COVID-19 supplemental sick leave legislation with some key differences:
- More California employees are included in SB 95 than previous COVID-19 legislation
- California employees can take COVID-19 supplemental sick leave for vaccinations
- SB 95 requires employers to compensate eligible employees who took COVID-19-related leave prior to the passing of the bill into law
Who’s Covered by SB 95?
SB 95 expands employee eligibility for COVID-19-related supplemental paid sick leave, and covers employees who lost coverage with the expiration of federal COVID-19 relief laws at the end of 2020.
SB 95 covers California employees who work for employers with more than 25 employees. The supplemental sick leave is for employees who cannot work due to certain COVID-19-related reasons. This includes:
- Quarantining due to COVID-19 exposure
- Recovering from COVID-19
- Caring for family members with COVID-19
Supplemental Paid Sick Leave Can Be Used for Vaccinations
Because vaccines were not available at the time previous federal and state COVID-19 sick leave laws were passed, employees were not able to use supplemental paid sick leave for vaccination appointments or recovery from vaccine side effects.
Now that vaccines are available, vaccine allowances are included in SB 95. Eligible employees can now use supplemental paid sick leave to take time off for vaccination appointments, or to recover if they experience any vaccine side effects that prevent them from working.
SB 95 Applies Retroactively
SB 95 applies retroactively to January 1, 2021. This helps fill the gap left by the expiration of the federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA).
The new law requires employers with more than 25 employees to compensate employees who took time off for a qualifying COVID-19-related reason going back to January 1, 2021. This may include going to a vaccination appointment, or taking time off to recover from being sick with COVID-19.
Contact Thyberg Law
If you have had to take time off from work for a COVID-19-related reason, you may be eligible for supplemental paid sick leave benefits. For help with your claim, schedule a consultation with Gregory Thyberg online or call our Sacramento law office at (916) 204-9173.