On February 7, 2022, there were two big COVID-19-related news developments in the Golden State: First, Gov. Newsom announced that California’s mask mandates would expire on February 15th. Second, the legislature voted to enact Assembly Bill 84 (“AB 84”), a law that would re-enact California’s 2020 supplemental COVID-19 leave law, and provide up to 80 hours of supplemental sick leave for reasons related to COVID-19. AB 84 now heads to Gov. Newsom, who is anticipated to sign it into law.

As previously reported (here), California originally enacted a supplemental COVID-19 sick leave law back in September 2020 to cover employers not subject to the leave provisions of the federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act. Although the leave statute initially expired in December 2020, the legislature re-enacted the supplemental COVID-19 sick leave law in March 2021, with retroactive effect back to January 2021. Yet, that too expired in September of last year and, since then, only local COVID-19 leave laws have been in place. Until now.

If signed into law, AB 84 will provide eligible employees who work for employers with more than 25 employees with supplemental paid sick leave to use when they are unable to work or telework because:

  1. They are subject a quarantine or isolation period related to COVID-19 as defined by an order or guidance of the California Department of Public Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or a local public health officer;
  2. They have been advised by a health care provider to isolate or quarantine;
  3. They are attending an appointment for themselves or a family member to receive a vaccine or a vaccine booster;
  4. They are experiencing symptoms, or caring for a family member experiencing symptoms, related to a COVID-19 vaccine or booster;
  5. They are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and seeking a medical diagnosis;
  6. They are caring for a family member who is subject to a quarantine or isolation period; or
  7. They are caring for a child whose school or place of care is closed or unavailable due to COVID-19 on the premises.

Importantly, where leave is related to a vaccination or booster, employers are permitted to limit the total COVID-19 supplemental paid sick leave to three days or 24 hours per dose, unless the employee provides verification from a health care provider that the employee or their family member is continuing to experience symptoms.

Employees who are considered “full-time” or who work at least 40 hours per week will be entitled to at least 40 hours of paid sick leave. If they or a family member test positive for COVID-19, however, the employee may be entitled to up to an additional 40 hours of paid supplemental sick leave, subject to certain conditions. Notably, AB 84 permits employers to require that employees submit documentation of COVID-19 testing; employers can refuse to provide more than 40 hours of paid leave to employees who refuse to furnish testing results.

In addition to providing leave, the new law requires employers to provide information regarding how much COVID-19 paid sick leave the employee has used.

If approved by Gov. Newsom, AB 84 would apply retroactively back to January 1, 2022. Therefore, employers should monitor this law closely.

Photo of Tony Oncidi Tony Oncidi

Anthony J. Oncidi heads the Labor & Employment Law Group in the Los Angeles office.

Tony represents employers and management in all aspects of labor relations and employment law, including litigation and preventive counseling, wage and hour matters, including class actions, wrongful termination…

Anthony J. Oncidi heads the Labor & Employment Law Group in the Los Angeles office.

Tony represents employers and management in all aspects of labor relations and employment law, including litigation and preventive counseling, wage and hour matters, including class actions, wrongful termination, employee discipline, Title VII and the California Fair Employment and Housing Act, executive employment contract disputes, sexual harassment training and investigations, workplace violence, drug testing and privacy issues, Sarbanes-Oxley claims and employee raiding and trade secret protection. A substantial portion of Tony’s practice involves the defense of employers in large class actions, employment discrimination, harassment and wrongful termination litigation in state and federal court as well as arbitration proceedings, including FINRA matters.

Photo of Philippe A. Lebel Philippe A. Lebel

Philippe (Phil) A. Lebel represents employers in all aspects of employment litigation, including wage and hour, wrongful termination, discrimination, harassment, retaliation, defamation, trade secrets, and breach of contract litigation, in both the single-plaintiff and class- and/or representative-action context, at both the trial and…

Philippe (Phil) A. Lebel represents employers in all aspects of employment litigation, including wage and hour, wrongful termination, discrimination, harassment, retaliation, defamation, trade secrets, and breach of contract litigation, in both the single-plaintiff and class- and/or representative-action context, at both the trial and appellate level, and before administrative agencies.

In addition to his litigation work, Phil regularly advises clients regarding compliance with federal, state and local employment laws, and assists a variety of companies and financial firms in evaluating labor and employment issues in connection with corporate transactions. Phil also has experience assisting employers with sensitive employee investigations and trainings.  Phil also represents employers in connection with labor law matters, such as labor arbitrations and proceedings before the National Labor Relations Board.

Phil has assisted clients in a wide array of sectors including in the biotech, education, entertainment, financial services, fitness, healthcare, high-tech, legal services, manufacturing, media, professional services, sports, and staffing industries, among others.

Phil regularly speaks on emerging issues for employers and has been published or quoted in Law360, the Daily JournalThe Hollywood ReporterBusiness Insurance, and SHRM.org regarding a variety of labor and employment law topics.

During college, Phil worked on political campaigns in Atlanta, Georgia and Birmingham, Alabama, and was an intern with the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund. Phil is a former member of the Board of Directors of the AIDS Legal Referral Panel.