On March 19, 2021, Governor Newsom approved SB 95, which requires COVID-19 supplemental sick leave through September 30, 2021 and creates new COVID-19 vaccine–related paid sick leave obligations for covered employers. The new law, which adds Sections 248.2 and 248.3 to California’s Labor Code, is effective immediately, but the employer obligation to provide COVID-19 supplemental paid sick leave does not take effect until March 29 (10 days after the date of enactment). It is important to note that the obligation to provide supplemental paid sick leave is retroactive to January 1, 2021, which means employers may owe back pay to employees who took covered leave on a previously unpaid basis, following the December 31, 2020 expiration of California’s previous supplemental sick leave legislation, discussed here.
The requirement is in addition to California’s mandated paid sick leave and may be used by covered employees upon oral or written request. An employee cannot be required to use any other paid or unpaid leave, time off, or vacation before the supplemental sick leave. The Labor Commissioner has developed a poster that employers are required to display or disseminate regarding the new requirements.