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COVID-19 Sick Pay
Sick pay is an issue of great importance to California’s workforce. When a worker does not have sick pay (paid sick leave), taking needed sick days can mean the choice between going without pay or showing up at work while sick and putting off seeking medical treatment. This can create a real dilemma, particularly for lower-wage workers. While many employers provide sick days to their workers in excess of what is required under California law; many others do not. Now the COVID-19 pandemic has created a need for sick pay on a scale never seen before.Sources of Sick Pay (Paid Sick Leave) California Paid Sick Leave and Kin Care
Under the Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act of 2014 (California Labor Code sections 245-247.5) and the Kin Care Law (California Labor Code section 233) covered workers accrue sick pay at the rate of one hour per 30 hours worked up to 24 hours or three days per year. Generally, an employer may not discipline a worker for using accrued paid sick leave for a purpose specified by the law. A worker may use paid sick days for the diagnosis, care, or treatment of a health condition, or preventive care, for the worker or for a family member.2022 COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave law
In addition to California Paid Sick Leave, 2022 COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave enables covered workers to take up to 80 hours of COVID-19 related paid leave.Who Is Entitled to 2022 COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave?
Unlike California Paid Leave, which applies to almost all California workers, the 2022 COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave law applies only to workers whose employers have 26 or more employees. Smaller employers are exempt from the requirement to provide supplemental sick leave. To be covered under this law the worker must be an employee as opposed to an independent contractor. The 2022 COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave law is generally retroactive to January 1, 2022. As of the writing of this article, the law is set to expire on September 30, 2022. However, laws pertaining the COVID-19 pandemic may change in response trends in case, hospitalization, and death rates. Information as to whether this law is currently in effect is available on several official California State websites.Under What Circumstances Are You Entitled to 2022 COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave?
Under the law, covered workers who are unable to work or work remotely are entitled to receive up to 40 hours of 2022 COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave for the following reasons:
- To care for themselves: This applies to covered workers who cannot work or cannot work remotely because they are subject to or have been advised by a healthcare professional to isolate or quarantine due to COVID-19. This also applies to covered workers who cannot work or cannot work remotely because they have experienced COVID-19 type symptoms and are seeking a medical diagnosis.
- To care for a family member: This applies to covered workers who cannot work or cannot work remotely because they are caring for a qualifying family member who is subject to or has been advised by a healthcare professional to isolate or quarantine due to COVID-19. Family members who qualify under this law include the covered worker’s child, parent, spouse, registered domestic partner, grandparent, grandchild, or sibling. The terms child and parent are broadly defined to include biological, adoptive, step, and foster relationships.
- COVID-19 vaccine-related matters: This applies to covered workers who cannot work or cannot work remotely because they or a qualifying family member whom the worker cares for is attending a COVID-19 vaccination appointment or who cannot work or work remotely due to COVID-19 vaccine related side effects.
Covered workers may take up to an additional 40 hours when:
- After testing positive: This applies to covered workers who cannot work or cannot work remotely because they tested positive for COVID-19 or they provide care for a qualifying family member who has tested positive for COVID-19.
Qualified workers who cannot work or cannot work remotely because they have to take care of themselves or family members for COVID-19 related reasons or for COVID-19 vaccine-related matters can use up to 40 hours. Qualified workers who cannot work or cannot work remotely after testing positive for COVID-19 can use up to another 40 hours. Therefore, a covered worker can potentially receive up to 80 hours of 2022 COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave.
Please note that the foregoing applies to covered workers who are considered full-time employees or who have worked or were scheduled to work an average of at least 40 hours per week in the two weeks before the leave is taken.
Parttime employees are entitled to fewer hours of 2022 COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave. Hours available to parttime employees are based either on the number of hours the employee usually works in a week or by averaging the number of hours worked over time.How Much Is a Qualified Worker Paid for 2022 COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave?
Generally, 2022 COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave benefits are either based on:
- The covered worker’s regular rate of pay for the workweek during which the COVID-19 leave was taken; or
- By dividing the covered worker’s non-overtime wages by the number non-overtime hours worked in the full pay periods during the 90 days before the COVID-19 leave was taken.
Covered workers do not need to take the up to 40 or 80 hours available all at one time. For example, a covered worker could use a certain number of hours for receiving a COVID-19 vaccine and recovering from the side effects. The covered worker could later use hours to care for a child who tested positive for COVID-19.When Must 2022 COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave Benefits Be Paid?
The employer must provide payment to a qualified worker who could not work or work remotely for one of the reasons itemized above by the payday for the next regular payroll period after the sick leave was taken. The law permits an employer to require a covered worker to provide documentation of a positive COVID-19 result before paying a covered worker if the worker is using the COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave that is only available after a positive test.What to Do If You Are Fired for Exercising Your Right to 2022 COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave
Under California Labor Code section 246.5 (and other laws), it is unlawful for an employer to deny a worker the right to use accrued sick days, fire or threaten to fire, or to demote or suspend or otherwise discriminate against a worker for using accrued sick days, attempting to exercise the right to use accrued sick days, or for filing a complaint with Labor Commissioner’s Office concerning the employer’s failure to comply with the law. Therefore, if you are fired or otherwise retaliated against for taking or attempting to take sick leave or if you are not paid for 2022 COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave benefits to which you are entitled, you should Contact an experienced employment attorney like the experienced employment attorneys at Kokozian Law Firm, APC.Contact Us
If you lost your job because of COVID -19 or was denied 2022 COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave, or if your employer or former employer has otherwise violated your rights, call the experienced employment attorneys at Kokozian Law Firm, APC or Contact Us via our online form.