California passed a new 2021 sick leave law. If you took leave for COVID-related reasons since January 1, 2021, you may be entitled to paid sick leave (up to 80 hours) from January 1, 2021 through September 30, 2021 from your employer.

This law applies to covered employees in public or private sectors and who work for employers with more than 25 employees. The law is in effect from March 29, 2021 until September 30, 2021. If the employee took qualifying leave between January 1, 2021 to March 28, 2021 and it was not paid, they can request payment from the employer.

Some qualifying reasons for Supplemental Paid Sick Leave include (if the employee cannot work or telework):

  • Quarantine or isolation period due to COVID-19;
  • Caring for a family member who is experiencing qualifying reasons;
  • Attending a vaccine appointment or experiencing vaccine-related symptoms.

Full time employees and part-time employees can be considered covered employees if they have worked for an employer for more than 14 days. Exempt employees must be calculated the same way the employer calculates wages for other forms of paid leave.

The 2021 COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave is capped at $511 per day and $5,110 in total. This law does not apply to independent contractors. Retaliation or discrimination against a covered employee for asking to use COVID-19 paid sick leave is prohibited; claims can be filed with the Labor Commissioner’s Office here: https://www.dir.ca.gov/dlse/DistrictOffices.htm

You can read more on the CA Government website here:

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