Yesterday, Governor Gavin Newsom signed AB1867 into law, which provides supplemental paid sick leave benefits for California workers. The new law, which adds section 248.1 to the Labor Code, provides coverage for employees who did not receive paid sick leave benefits under the federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act (“FFCRA”). The effective date will be within 10 days of the governor’s signature.
New Labor Code section 248.1 applies to private “hiring entities” (including sole proprietorships) with 500 or more employees in the United States, who were excluded from federal paid sick leave benefits under the FFCRA. It requires up to 80 hours of supplemental paid sick leave for full time employees for the following reasons:
(A) The covered worker is subject to a federal, state, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19.
(B) The covered worker is advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine or self-isolate due to concerns related to COVID-19.
(C) The covered worker is prohibited from working by the covered worker’s hiring entity due to health concerns related to the potential transmission of COVID-19.
Notably, California employees cannot use supplemental paid sick leave for a family member, or to care for a child if their school closes, or childcare provider is unavailable, due to COVID-19, though local paid sick leave laws may be more expansive. Supplemental paid sick leave also will not apply to employees on furlough.
This paid sick leave is in addition to the leave required under the Healthy Workplace Healthy Families Act. But, if an employer provided any “supplemental” paid time off for COVID or the employee took additional time off for COVID since March 4, 2020, that leave can count toward the new required allotment. So, existing traditional PTO policies will not appear to offset the new requirement and the law specifically prohibits a hiring entity from requiring a covered worker to use any other paid or unpaid leave, paid time off, or vacation time provided by the hiring entity to the covered worker before the covered worker uses COVID-19 supplemental paid sick leave or in lieu of COVID-19 supplemental paid sick leave.
AB1867 has several unrelated provisions included in the bill. It launches a pilot program for mediation of CFRA violations under a new family leave mediation program. It also codifies existing paid sick leave and hand-washing protocols for food facility workers found in Executive Order N-51-20, which Governor Newsom signed earlier this year.