News & Commentary

February 15, 2022

Tala Doumani

Tala Doumani is a student at Harvard Law School.

Yesterday, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed into law a new COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave plan. Under the new plan, employees are eligible for up to 80 hours of paid leave for COVID-19 related absences. The statute, which was codified in the California Labor Code, applies to employers with 26 or more employees. The scope of what qualifies for a COVID-19 related absence is broadly construed – including use for employees who have been advised to quarantine, those caring for COVID-19 positive family members, and attending vaccination appointments. In announcing the law, Newsom’s administration stated that “[p]aid sick leave is key to ensuring workers don’t have to make the impossible choice between going to work sick or losing wages needed to pay rent and keep food on the table.” Unlike in previous federal and state paid sick leave programs, Californian employers are responsible for the costs of the additional time off (with the opportunity for government support down the road). The law retroactively applies to January 1, 2022, and is set to expire on September 30, 2022. 

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