You May Need to Reimburse Employees for COVID-19 Leave Under SB95

March 26, 2021


Senate Bill 95 (SB95) will come into law on Monday, March 29. The law extends 80 hours COVID-19-related leave entitlements to more employees. It mandates that employers provide paid sick leave for more reasons than prior state legislation and existing federal law. It will apply retroactively to January 1, 2021. Here’s what it means for your business:


SB95 Applies to Smaller Businesses

SB95 applies to ‘employers’ who employ more than 25 employees. Any covered employer is not permitted to require employees who are eligible for paid leave under the new bill to use other leave entitlements before they use the SB95 leave. 


SB95 Applies in More Situations

An employee of a covered employer is permitted to use the supplementary COVID-19 sick leave under SB95 if they are: 

  • Subject to quarantine or an isolation period under either order or guidelines of the State Department of Public Health, the CDC, or a local health officer who has jurisdiction over the workplace (the relevant bodies). 
  • Attending an appointment for a COVID-19 vaccine. 
  • Experiencing symptoms due to the COVID-19 vaccine.
  • Seeking a medical diagnosis due to symptoms of COVID-19.
  • Caring for a family member who is subject to an order or guidelines from the relevant bodies or who has been advised to self-quarantine. Family members covered by the legislation are: 
    • A child (of any age or dependency status), including a biological, adopted, or foster child, stepchild, legal ward, or a child to whom the employee stands in loco parentis.
    • A parent, including biological, adoptive, or foster parent, stepparent or legal guardian of an employee or employee’s spouse or registered domestic partner, or a person who stood in loco parentis when the employee was a minor. 
    • A spouse or registered domestic partner. 
    • A grandparent. 
    • A grandchild. 
    • A sibling.
  • Caring for a child whose school or childcare is closed due to COVID-19.


SB95 Applies Retroactively

The Bill applies retroactively to January 1, 2021. This means that covered employers will need to either replenish used leave entitlements or reimburse employees who took unpaid leave since the start of the year for the reasons listed above.

The leave entitlements under SB95 will apply until September 30, 2021. 

You can read SB95 here


If you need assistance determining your obligations under SB95, reach out. We’re here to help.


UPDATE: The California Labor Commissioner’s Office and DIR have released a web-based COVID-19 paid sick leave tool. You can access it here.


The materials available at this website are for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. You should contact your attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem. Use of and access to this website or any of the e-mail links contained within the site do not create an attorney-client relationship between CGL and the user or browser. The opinions expressed at or through this site are the opinions of the individual author and may not reflect the opinions of the firm or any individual attorney.

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