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On January 25, 2022, California Governor Gavin Newsom and California legislative leaders announced they have reached an agreement to require employers again to provide COVID-19 supplemental paid sick leave (SPSL), which expired on September 30, 2021.

Under the previous SPSL law, California employers with more than 25 employees nationally were required to pay their California employees with up to 80 hours of COVID-19–related paid leave through September 30, 2021.

While the exact details of the new SPSL law have not been finalized, the governor, Senate President pro Tempore Toni Atkins, and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon indicated that the new law would again require California employers to provide up to 80 hours of COVID-19-related paid leave through September 30, 2022, and it would be retroactive and apply to COVID-19 absences from January 1, 2022. They also referred to providing sick leave to “frontline workers” but did not specify whether the paid sick leave would be limited to frontline workers or, if so, which employees would qualify as “frontline.”

In addition, it has been reported that full-time employees will receive the full 80 hours of supplemental paid sick leave only if they present a positive COVID-19 test result for the employee or the covered family member. Otherwise, full-time employees may receive only 40 hours of supplemental paid sick leave.

Ogletree Deakins will continue to monitor and report on developments with respect to the COVID-19 pandemic, including Cal/OSHA’s COVID-19 ETS. When Cal/OSHA makes a new proposal to the Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board, we will post updates in the firm’s Coronavirus (COVID-19) Resource Center and on the California and Workplace Safety and Health blogs. Important information for employers is also available via the firm’s webinar and podcasts programs.

For more information on this development, please join us for our upcoming webinar, “Cal/OSHA’s FAQ Update: Where Are We Now?,” which will take place on Tuesday, February 1, 2022, from 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. EST. The speakers, Charles Thompson, Karen Tynan, and Robert Rodriguez, will discuss employer obligations under the updated California ETS as well as best practices for dealing with COVID-19 in the workplace. Register here.

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