New California COVID-19 Leave Law Is Retroactive to Jan. 1

Under a new law, California employers with more than 25 employees must provide up to 80 new hours of supplemental paid sick leave for specific COVID-19-related reasons. The leave requirement takes effect March 29, 2021, but is retroactive to Jan. 1, 2021.

Reasons for Leave

Employees may take leave if they cannot work or telework because of:

  • Quarantine, isolation, or a healthcare provider’s advice to quarantine due to COVID-19, or symptoms of COVID-19 while seeking a diagnosis;
  • Caring for a family member to whom one of the above quarantine or isolation conditions applies, or caring for a child whose school or place of care is closed or unavailable due to COVID-19 on the premises; or
  • A vaccine appointment or vaccine-related symptoms.
Retroactivity of Leave

Employees who took qualifying leave between Jan. 1 and March 28, 2021, may request payment from their employers for that leave under the new law. Leave pay is subject to daily and total maximums. The leave must be provided in addition to other paid or unpaid leave, but employers may be credited for leave taken since Jan. 1 that meets supplemental paid leave requirements.

Notice Requirements

Employers must post a notice about the leave entitlement.

Action Steps

Employers should ensure their policies comply with the new leave, notice and recordkeeping requirements of the law. The California Department of Industrial Relations (DIA) has published FAQs about the new law.


For a copy of this notice, click here: California Supplemental Paid Sick Leave 2021

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