California Expands Mandate for COVID-Related Paid Sick Leave

Effective March 29, 2021, California’s most recent COVID-19 legislation (SB 95) requires all employers with 25 or more employees to provide up to 80 hours of COVID-19 sick leave. The law is similar to the statewide supplemental paid sick leave law that expired on Dec. 31, 2020 and is retroactive to Jan. 1, 2021. It is scheduled to expire on Sept. 30, 2021.

Prior to this law, employees qualified for paid sick leave for the following reasons:
– Employee is subject to a COVID-19-related quarantine or isolation period per order/guideline of the State Department of Public Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or local health officer who has jurisdiction over the workplace
– Health care provider advised employee to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID-19
– Employee is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and seeking a medical diagnosis

These qualifying reasons have been expanded to also include employees who are:
– Caring for a family member who is subject to a COVID-19-related quarantine/isolation order or who has been advised by a healthcare provider to self-quarantine
– Caring for a child whose school or place of care is closed or otherwise unavailable due to reasons related to COVID-19 on the on the premises

As outlined in SB 95, the amount of supplemental paid sick leave is determined by the employee’s status as full-time or part-time employee. Due to its complexity, SB 95 presents potential issues for employers who are responsible for implementing the new supplemental paid sick leave obligations, as well as complying with the retroactive application of the leave requirements.

To assist employers, the state Department of Industrial Relations (DIR) has published an extensive Q&A with detailed information. It has also published a mandatory poster for display or circulation electronically to employees.


Pacific Federal is a Zenith American company and subsidiary of Harbour Benefit Holdings, Inc.