COVID 19 sick pay laws

COVID-19 Sick Pay: What California Employees Need to Know

The impact of COVID-19 on California workplaces left employees across the state with questions. What happens if you contract the virus and have to stay home to recover? Do you lose all that income if your employer doesn’t offer any kind of paid sick leave?

For many workers, these questions were answered on September 19, 2020, when Assembly Bill 1867 became law. This legislation, which will remain in effect until either December 31, 2020 or the end date of any extension of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (whichever is later), requires certain California private employers to provide their employees with paid sick leave if the reason is COVID-19 related. 

It also:

  • Provides food sector employees with supplemental paid sick leave unless they are eligible for the food sector worker supplemental paid sick leave
  • Expands FCRA coverage to businesses or organizations that employ healthcare providers and emergency responders

Does AB 1867 apply to your employer?

AB 1867 applies to private employers with at least 500 U.S. employees unless their workforce consists of healthcare providers and emergency responders, in which case the 500-worker minimum is not in effect. If your company meets either of these criteria, you are eligible for supplemental paid sick leave if:

  • You are subject to a quarantine or isolation order due to COVID-19 or;
  • Your doctor or other healthcare provider has advised you to self-quarantine or self-isolate or;
  • Your boss has ordered you to stay away from the workplace due to COVID-19 concerns

If you work full-time or worked/were scheduled to work an average of 40 hours during the two weeks before taking leave, you are entitled to 80 hours of COVID-19 supplemental paid sick leave (CSPSL). Part-timers and those who work variable hours can receive CSPSL based on the number of hours worked over a specified period.

What if your employer offers paid sick leave?

CSPSL must be offered in addition to any other paid sick leave that you may be entitled to. This means that your employer can’t order you to use up regular sickness benefits before claiming CSPSL. They also can’t call you back mid-leave if AB 1867 expires before you’ve used the hours you are entitled to.

What is the rate of compensation?

If you have to take time off work due to COVID-19, you will be compensated according to your regular rate of pay, California state minimum wage, or any local minimum wage you may be entitled to, whichever is higher. There is a cap of $511 per day and/or $5,110 total.

If you took COVID-related sick leave before AB 1867 took effect and your boss paid you less than the Act requires, you may receive retroactive supplemental sickness pay. A California employment law attorney can help you determine how much you may be eligible for.

What if your boss won’t pay?

Any California employer who is subject to AB 1867 and unlawfully withholds CSPSL from eligible employees can face an administrative penalty of at least $250 per day. If your boss is refusing to pay or demanding that you use your paid sick time instead, seek legal counsel right away.

Are you a California employee with questions for an employment attorney?

At Whitehead Employment Law, employment law is what we do — it’s what we’re passionate about, and it’s the sole focus of our law practice. 

We’re committed to effectively representing the rights of employees across the state of California — because we believe that everyone has the right to earn a living and provide for their family, free of unlawful discrimination and harassment. 

Our firm has won millions of dollars for employees all over California and we only take cases on contingency, which means we don’t get paid unless we win your case. Our fees come out of the court verdict or settlement with the company, so you don’t pay anything out of pocket. If you’d like our help evaluating your case and understanding the options available to you, we would love to help.

Contact Whitehead Employment Law today at 949-674-4922. Consultations are free and confidential.

DISCLAIMER: This article does not provide legal advice and does not establish an attorney-client relationship. If you need legal advice, please contact an attorney directly.