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As the pandemic passes the one-year mark, many Los Angeles businesses are still working through the financial and economic challenges on the road to recovery. While each business has specific and unique challenges, the national distribution of vaccines has not only helped to reduce new cases but has also given many the confidence to return to “pre-pandemic” activities. It is clear that public health efforts are paying off, but with a daily rate of 320 new cases in Los Angeles County, it means many may still be impacted. Ensuring affected employees access paid sick leave benefits, Governor Newsom recently signed Senate Bill 95, extending state supplemental sick leave benefits. The Bill contains several provisions similar to the California 2020 Paid Sick Leave statute, which expired at the end of 2020. To help clients, prospects, and others, understand how they will be impacted, JLK Rosenberger has provided a summary of key benefits below.
The new regulations took immediate effect and offered a 10-day grace period to start, offering the required leave. Only employers that have 25 or more employees are required to comply. The extension is in effect through September 30, 2021, but is retroactive to January 1, 2021, which means employers may have to pay for leave already taken. Finally, there is no length of service requirement which means all employees may be eligible.
Under the new law, there is a wide range of COVID-19 related situations which qualify. An employer is required to grant COVID019 sick leave immediately if an employee is unable to work, including telework, for any of the following reasons:
- When an employee is subject to a quarantine or isolation period related to COVID-19.
- An employee has been advised by a healthcare provider to self-quarantine.
- For time off needed to receive the first or second dose of the vaccine.
- The employee is experiencing symptoms from the vaccine, which prevents them from working or telework.
- There are symptoms of COVID-19, and the employee is awaiting a medical diagnosis.
- When caring for a family member subject to a quarantine or isolation order.
- The employee is caring for a child whose school or primary place of care is closed for reasons related to the pandemic.
Sick Leave Benefits
The number of sick leave benefits which a qualifying employer needs to pay is dependent on whether an employee is classified as full or part-time. Full-time employees are entitled to 80 hours of paid sick leave. This includes employees classified as full-time or those scheduled to work, an average of 40 hours per week, in the preceding two weeks prior to when leave was taken.
For part-time employees, the benefit amount is determined by the employee’s schedule and amount of time with the employers. Under the new regulation, the following benefits are required:
- Those working a regular schedule are entitled to benefits for the total number of hours an employee is normally scheduled to work over two weeks.
- Those working on a schedule with a varying number of hours each week can receive 14 times the average number of work hours in the six months preceding the leave.
- Those who have an inconsistent schedule and have worked at the business less than 14 days is entitled to the total hours worked for the employer.
Sick Leave Pay Calculation
The new law requires that an employee be compensated by the greater of the following:
- Employees’ regular rate of pay for the workweek in which leave is taken.
- A formula that divides total wages by total work hours over the prior 90 days of employment.
- State minimum wage.
- Local minimum wage.
It is important to note that the benefit maximum is limited to $511 per day and a total of $5,510 in total to eligible employees.
We’re Here to Help
The new law provides an additional financial safety net for those impacted by the pandemic. Since the changes are retroactive to the beginning of the year, it is important to carefully review your situation to determine where liability exists. If you have questions about the information outlined above or need assistance with a tax or accounting issue, JLK Rosenberger can help. For additional information, call us at 949-860-9902 or click here to contact us. We look forward to speaking with you soon.