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.


Continue Reading California Requires COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave Through September 30, 2021

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) released long-awaited Guidance this morning regarding permissible activities and relaxed precautions for individuals who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. An individual is considered fully vaccinated two weeks after receiving the second shot of a two-dose vaccine (e.g., Pfizer or Moderna), or two weeks after receiving the single-dose vaccine (e.g., Johnson & Johnson).

Specifically, today’s CDC Guidance states that fully vaccinated individuals may:

  • Gather indoors with other fully vaccinated people without wearing a mask;
  • Gather indoors with unvaccinated people from one other household (for example, visiting with relatives who all live together) without masks, unless any of those people or anyone they live with has an increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19; and
  • Refrain from quarantine and testing following a known exposure to COVID-19 if asymptomatic.


Continue Reading CDC Releases Guidance for Fully Vaccinated Persons

The California Labor & Workforce Development Agency (LWDA) and the California Department of Industrial Relations (DIR) unveiled a new website for companies operating in California that contains consolidated resources regarding COVID-19.  The website includes a variety of resources for employers to “learn about COVID-19 workplace requirements such as safety procedures, training for employees on infection

With multiple states rolling out phased access to COVID-19 vaccines, many employers are considering whether they want to require employees to be vaccinated, how to encourage employee vaccinations, and the implications of vaccine policies for their businesses. Below are a few of the top questions that Perkins Coie has received from its clients:

  • May I

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Congress passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), which among other things, required private employers with fewer than 500 full-time and part-time employees as well as most public employers to provide paid leave for COVID-19 related absences beginning on April 1, 2020. The FFCRA also provided tax credits to help offset the paid leave wages required to be paid under the FFCRA. The paid leave provisions (and tax credits) of the FFCRA were set to expire on December 31, 2020.
Continue Reading Paid Leave Under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act Ends on December 31, 2020, but Tax Credits Extend Through March 31, 2021

On December 14, 2020, California Governor Gavin Newsom issued an Executive Order N-84-20 addressing the COVID-19 pandemic including, but not limited, to updating the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health’s (Cal/OSHA) emergency regulations, which went into effect November 30, 2020. The Executive Order modified the emergency regulations so that they incorporate the new California Department of Public Health’s (CDPH) COVID-19 Quarantine Guidance, specifically stating that the exclusion periods in Sections 3205(c)(10) and (11) are suspended to the extent that they exceed the longer of the applicable quarantine or isolation period recommended by CDPH.
Continue Reading California’s New Executive Order and COVID-19 Quarantine Guidance

On December 16, 2020, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) updated its What You Should Know About COVID-19 and the ADA, the Rehabilitation Act, and Other EEO Laws with nine questions and answers designed to address how various equal employment opportunity (EEO) laws, including the ADA, the Rehabilitation Act, GINA, and Title VII, including

By Maggie Hayes and Cris Jones

The IRS has issued its annual employee benefit plan limitations for 2021. Key changes, also highlighted in the chart below, include the following:

  • Code Section 415(c) maximum annual additions increased from $57,000 to $58,000.
  • Compensation limit under Code Section 401(a)(17) increased from $285,00 to $290,000.
  • HDHP Out of Pocket Maximum increased from $6,900 to $7,000 for self-only coverage and from $13,800 to $14,000 for family coverage.
  • HSA Maximum Contribution Limit increased from $3,550 to $3,600 for self-only coverage and from $7,100 to $7,200 for family coverage.
  • All adoption assistance limits and thresholds have increased.
  • All QSEHRA and Archer MSA limits increased.


Continue Reading 2021 IRS Annual Employee Benefit Plan Limit Updates