With COVID-19 have come many new laws and regulations relating to the employer – employee relationship. Some of these laws relate to paid sick leave, workplace safety, employee pay, and more. If you have concerns about your employer’s compliance with these new rules, you will want to reach out to an experienced employment attorney.
One new set of laws that benefit employees is Assembly Bill 1867 (AB 1867), which has three new laws combined into one bill. The California employment bill covers supplemental sick leave requirements, a pilot mediation program for small employers, and mandated hand washing requirements for food workers. It significantly expands worker access to paid sick leave beyond the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) and essentially provides supplemental paid sick leave benefits to all California workers who test positive for or have been exposed to COVID-19. To read more about the FFRCA and how it applies to you, the California worker, click here.
The bill’s objective was to close the “gaps in paid sick days” that exist in the FFCRA by including employers with over 500 workers, food sector employers, and businesses that retain first responders and health care workers and have applied their discretionary authority under the FFCRA to exempt such employees from paid sick leave benefits. While the U.S. Department of Labor did recently amend the FFCRA “final rule” to tighten the definition of health care providers and first responders who can be denied FFCRA benefits, AB 1867 remains more generous to California employees than the FFCRA.
Who is a Covered Worker Under AB 1867?
Under AB 1867, certain workers must receive COVID-19 supplemental paid sick leave, including certain employees employed by private businesses with 500 or more employees in the United States. These employees must leave home to perform their job.
Covered California workers may take leave under AB 1867 if they are unable to work for any of the following reasons:
· They are subject to a federal, state, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19;
· They are directed by a health care provider to self-quarantine or self-isolate due to COVID-19-related concerns; or
· They are prohibited from working by the employer due to health concerns related to the potential transmission of COVID-19
How Much PTO?
If you take time off under the reasons listed above, know that AB 1867 provides full-time workers up to two weeks (80 hours) off at full pay (with a cap of $511 per day or $5,110 in total). Lesser amounts are provided for part-time employees commensurate with their regularly scheduled hours. COVID-19 supplemental paid sick leave under AB 1867 must be paid at an hourly rate at the highest of: (1) the regular rate of pay for the last pay period, (2) state minimum wage, or (3) local minimum wage.
If your employer has refused to pay you for taking a COVID-related leave, you will want to speak with a Los Angeles employment attorney to discuss your legal rights. For a free, no obligation consultation, contact the lawyers at LOEAB Law today.