Employment Law Alert: California Extends & Amends COVID-19 Supplemental Sick Leave Requirement

October 6, 2022

On September 29, 2022, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed into law Assembly Bill 152, extending from September 30, 2022 to December 31, 2022 the requirement for employers with 26 or more employees to provide supplemental paid sick leave to employees for specified reasons related to COVID-19. AB 152 took effect immediately. For detailed information about California's requirement to provide COVID-19 supplemental paid sick leave, please see our February 13, 2022 Employment Law Alert.

AB 152 also amends what the law says about an employer's right to require an employee to submit to COVID-19 diagnostic testing after taking supplemental sick leave because of the employee's positive test. Existing law allowed the employer to require the employee to submit to a diagnostic test on or after the fifth day after the positive test. AB 152 now adds that, if the diagnostic test is positive, the employer may also require the employee to submit to a second diagnostic test within no less than 24 hours. AB 152 also provides that an employer is not required to provide supplemental sick leave to an employee who refuses to submit to such diagnostic tests.

As we noted in our above-referenced February 13, 2022 Employment Law Alert, the supplemental sick leave under AB 152 is separate from, and in addition to, the requirement to provide paid leave under the Cal-OSHA COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standards (which require paid leave for COVID-19 cases or exposure, unless the employer can show that the COVID-19 exposure is not work-related).

We recommend that employers work with their legal counsel to update their COVID-19 leave policies and practices in light of this new law. Employers seeking further guidance may contact any of the firm’s attorneys.

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