On September 29, 2022, California’s Governor signed Assembly Bill 152 (“AB 152”) into law, immediately extending the obligations of employers with 26 or more employees, including K-12 and community college districts, to provide COVID-19 supplemental paid sick leave (“SPSL”) through December 31, 2022. AB 152 was signed into law just before the expiration of its predecessor, Senate Bill (“SB 114”), which provided SPSL through September 30, 2022. In addition to extending the deadline to use SPSL, AB 152 gives employers the ability to require an additional test after a covered employee tests positive for COVID-19 twice as explained below.
The same qualifying reasons for taking SPSL under SB 114 remain in effect under AB 152. (See our prior Alert < https://www.aalrr.com/newsroom-alerts-3899> for more information regarding SPSL requirements, which are now extended through the end of the year by AB 152.) Notably, AB 152’s extension of SPSL does not require a new bank of leave. Rather, employees who have not used the entire bank of 80 hours of SPSL in 2022, will have access to any remaining SPSL through December 31, 2022.
AB 152 added the ability to require an additional test related to the use of up to 40 hours of SPSL when an employee, or a family member for whom the employee is providing care, tests positive for COVID-19. Under the prior 2022 SPSL law (SB 114), employers could require the employee to submit to an employer-provided test on or after the fifth day after the initial test was taken and to provide documentation of those results. If the employee requested to use additional leave to care for a family member who had tested positive for COVID-19, employers could require the employee to provide documentation of the family member’s test results before paying the additional leave. Employers were not obligated to provide additional SPSL for an employee who refused to provide documentation of the test results.
Under AB 152, in situations where an employee’s second test is positive, employers may now require the employee to submit to a third diagnostic test within no less than 24 hours, at no cost to the employee. Employers may deny SPSL to an employee who refuses to submit to this additional COVID-19 testing.
Education employers may contact the authors of this Alert or their usual AALRR counsel if they have questions, or would like assistance in preparing their agency to follow the requirements of AB 152.