Relief grant to come for small businesses affected by COVID Supplemental Sick Leave.
On Sept. 29, 2022, the California legislature voted to extend the COVID Supplemental Sick Leave (SPSL) through the end of 2022. Employers with 26 employees or more are required to provide paid sick leave for full-time employees up to 80-hours between Jan-Dec. 2022 for COVID qualified absences. The legislation includes an amendment that states certain small businesses may be eligible to apply for a grant.
Categories of Supplemental Sick Leave
The SPSL divides the 80-hours of paid sick leave into two categories.
The first 40 hours of sick leave
These can be used if the employee is unable to work or telework due to any of the following reasons:
· Vaccine or Booster:
o Employee is experiencing symptoms or caring for a family member experiencing symptoms due to a vaccine or vaccine booster.
o Employee is attending an appointment for themselves or a family member to receive a vaccine or vaccine booster
o Employee is experiencing symptoms or caring for a family member experiencing symptoms and is seeking a medical diagnosis.
o Employee is caring for a child whose school or daycare is closed or unavailable due to symptoms.
o Employee is required to isolate or is caring for a family member required to isolate by Public Health Officials
o Employee is caring for a family member required to isolate by Public Health Officials
The second 40-hours of sick leave
These can be used if the employee tests positive or is caring for a family member who test positive for COVID-19.The employer has the right to request a 2nd positive test within 24 hours of the first positive test.
If employees have already used their 80 hours of Supplemental Sick Leave this year and experience another qualifying absence before Dec. 2022, they are not eligible for additional Supplemental Sick Leave time. There are a few cities in CA that have additional local SPSL ordinances that employers should be aware of (Long Beach, City of LA, unincorporated LA County, and Oakland).
Employers may limit the amount of sick leave requested for a vaccine or booster to 3 days or 24 hours unless there is medical verification from a health care provider that the employee or family member of the employee are still experiencing symptoms.
Amendment Provides Grants
With the extended legislation, certain employers may be eligible for a grant up to $50,000 to cover the costs of providing Supplemental Sick Leave. Businesses and non-profits must have begun operating prior to June 2021, be currently operating and have a physical presence in CA as well as employ 26 to 49 employees. This grant program will be established as part of GO-Biz and will not be considered as income for tax purposes.