On March 10, 2022, Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney signed a new ordinance expanding COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave (SPSL) until 2023.

The following are answers that employers need to their questions regarding the latest edition of Philadelphia’s SPSL.

When does SPSL become effective?

SPSL became effective on March 9, 2022.

How long will SPSL be in effect?

SPSL requirements will remain in effect until December 31, 2023.

Which employers are covered?

Employers with more than 25 employees must provide leave under the latest edition of SPSL.

Which employees are covered?

An employee of a covered employer who is unable to work because of covered reasons.  There is no length of service requirement.

What are the covered reasons for using SPSL?

The following are covered reasons for using SPSL:

  1. The covered employee is unable to work due to a determination by a public official or public health authority having jurisdiction, a health care provider, or an employer that the employee’s presence on the job or in the community would jeopardize the health of others because of the employee’s exposure to COVID-19 or because the employee is exhibiting symptoms that might jeopardize the health of others, regardless of whether the employee has been diagnosed with or has tested positive for COVID19.

 

  1. The covered employee must care for a family member due to a determination by a public official or health authority having jurisdiction, a health care provider, or the family member’s employer that the presence of the family member on the job or in the community would jeopardize the health of others because of the family member’s exposure to COVID-19 or a determination by the employer that the employee is a danger to the health of others because they are exhibiting symptoms that might jeopardize the health of others, regardless of whether the family member has been diagnosed or having tested positive with COVID-19.

 

  1. The covered employee must care for themselves or a family member self-isolating due to having tested positive or diagnosed with COVID-19.

 

  1. The covered employee must care for themselves or a family member self-isolating due to experiencing symptoms of COVID-19.

 

  1. The covered employee needs medical diagnosis, care, or treatment due to experiencing symptoms of an illness related to COVID-19.

 

  1. The covered employee must care for a family member who needs medical diagnosis, care, or treatment due to experiencing symptoms of an illness related to COVID-19.

 

  1. The covered employee is caring for a child, whose school or place of care has been closed, or the childcare provider of such child is unavailable, due to precautions taken in response to COVID-19.

 

  1. The covered employee is receiving a COVID-19 test, vaccine or recovering from injury, disability or illness related to vaccination.

 

How many hours of SPSL are employees entitled to take?

Covered employees who work at least 40 hours a week are entitled to up to 40 hours of leave unless the employer designates a higher limit.  Covered employees who work fewer than 40 hours in a week are entitled to an amount equal to the amount of time the employee is otherwise scheduled to work or actually works on average in a 7-day period, whichever is greater and unless the employer designates a higher limit.

For covered employees with changing schedules, SPSL time is calculated as the average number of hours in a 7-day period the employee was scheduled to work over the past 90 days multiplied by 7.

Covered employees who are exempt from overtime requirements under the FLSA will be assumed to have worked 40 hours a week for purposes of SPSL entitlement unless their normal work week is less than 40 hours, in which case SPSL will be based upon that normal work week.

Employers may not require, as a condition of providing SPSL for an employee, that the employee search for or find a replacement to cover the hours during which the employee is using SPSL.

Are employers permitted to request documentation of an employee taking SPSL?

An employer is permitted only to request that an employee submit a self-certified statement asserting that leave was used for SPSL purposes.

What type of notice do employers need to provide to employees regarding SPSL and vice versa?

Employers must notify employees of their entitlement to SPSL.  The City has posted a model notice poster to its website with the SPSL information employers must post or provide to employees.  For employees who do not maintain a physical workplace, or who telework or perform work through a web-based platform, an employer can fulfill SPSL notification requirements by sending the information via electronic communication or conspicuously posting it a in the web-based platform.

Covered employees must provide notice to their employer of the need for SPSL as practicable and as soon as feasible, but only when the need for leave is foreseeable.

What is the rate of pay that an employee is compensated for SPSL?

Covered employees shall be compensated in the same manner as the regular rate of pay, including benefits if applicable, for the workweek in which the employee uses SPSL, provided that the hourly rate may not be less than the full state minimum wage.

What prohibitions are in place regarding SPSL?

Employers are prohibited from retaliating against employees for utilizing SPSL, and aggrieved employees have the right to file a civil action against an employer for an alleged violation of the ordinance without first filing an administrative complaint.

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Jackson Lewis will continue to track COVID-19-related statutes and ordinances around the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the entire United States. If you have questions or need assistance, please reach out to the Jackson Lewis attorney with whom you regularly work, or any member of our COVID-19 team.

On February 28, 2022, the Executive Office for Administration and Finance sent official notice to employers that the program established in May 2021 would be ending on March 15, 2022. Employers must continue to offer leave to eligible employees through March 15. (For program details, see our article, Massachusetts Employers Must Provide Up to 40 Hours of COVID-19 Emergency Paid Sick Leave.)

Read more about this here.

Following the passage of a bill that expanded the City’s anti-discrimination law to include employee “status as a victim of domestic violence,” Pittsburgh recently published additional guidance for employers.

The guidance explains that employers must reasonably accommodate employees who are domestic violence victims, unless they can prove that doing so would cause undue hardship on the financial or administrative operation of the employer.  Examples of reasonable accommodations listed in the guidance include: (a) modifying the layout of a workspace; (b) adjusting work schedules; (c) allowing for leave for survivors of domestic violence; (d) enhancing policies to ensure security; (e) transfer or reassignment; (f) change of a telephone number or email; (g) installation of a lock/security devices or equipment; and (h) developing code words to allow employees to safely signal a need for help such as security or police.

The guidance also makes clear that employers have a duty to engage in the interactive process with employees who are domestic violence victims.  Employers must document all efforts to initiate, engage in, and conclude the interactive process.  The guidance also reminds employers that survivors of domestic violence may not have access to “readily apparent proof of violence” and therefore specifically notes that it can be harmful for the employer to demand “proof.”  Retaliation is prohibited against employees who request reasonable accommodations related to domestic violence.

The Pittsburgh Commission on Human Relations is the city agency tasked with investigating complaints under the Bill.

If you have questions or need assistance, please reach out to the Jackson Lewis attorney with whom you regularly work or any member of our DLHM team.

Due to a surplus in the District of Columbia’s Universal Paid Leave Fund, the number of weeks of paid leave available to D.C. workers under D.C.’s Universal Paid Leave Act will significantly increase on July 1, 2022.

Read more here.

While many employers are concerned with complying with the recently passed statewide COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave, employers should also be aware of the interactions between regular paid sick leave and COVID-19 related absences. As such, employers are well-served to stay current on the latest updates for San Francisco’s Paid Sick Leave Ordinance.

The San Francisco Office of Labor Standards Enforcement (OLSE) recently issued a temporary update to its guidance regarding San Francisco’s Paid Sick Leave ordinance and COVID-19. The following is a summary of the temporary changes made to that guidance.

Read the full article on Jackson Lewis’ California Workplace Law Blog.

In response to requests across the country, and following a number of states who have relaxed or removed their mask requirements, CDC has relaxed its mask recommendations.  Today, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, Director for Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced new guidance on when masks should be worn indoors.  The guidance categorizes communities into high, medium and low risk based on new COVID-19 hospitalizations, current beds occupied by COVID-19 patients or hospital capacity, and new COVID-19 cases.  Masks are no longer recommended by CDC for those in medium and low risk areas (roughly 70% of the country).  However, immunocompromised individuals (or others at high risk for COVID-19) should consult with their healthcare provider about whether to wear a mask in medium risk areas.  Masks continue to be recommended for everyone (regardless of vaccination status) in high risk areas and continue to be required on public transportation.  This new guidance is not expected to change the CDC’s guidance for individuals who have symptoms, have tested positive, or have had recent exposure.  And of course, individuals can still choose to wear a mask in medium and low risk areas.  CDC will post the new risk areas on its website.

Employers are reminded to check state and local requirements, which may be different.

 

On February 19, 2022, the newest statewide COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave took effect.

California’s Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE) has published an FAQ Page to provide guidance regarding COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave (SPSL).

The new FAQ page covers questions pertaining to the following:

  • Reasons for Taking Leave
  • Start Date and End Date
  • Requesting Leave from An Employer
  • Calculating an Employee’s Hours of Leave
  • Permissive Limits on Use and Verification
  • Credits
  • Payment of Leave, Record-Keeping, and Paystubs
  • Enforcement
  • Relation to Other Laws

There is some information in the FAQs that employers should take special note of.

Retroactive Payment

Retroactive payments are only required if the covered employee requests retroactive time for qualified absences prior to February 19, 2022.

Employers may request documentation if the employee is requesting retroactive leave for the employee or a qualifying family member testing positive for COVID-19.

This documentation could include, among other things, a medical record of the test result, an e-mail or text from the testing company with the results, a picture of the test result, or a contemporaneous text or e-mail from the employee to the employer stating that the employee or a qualifying family member tested positive for COVID-19.

If retroactive payment is being sought from the hours that an employee may use for any other qualifying reason employer may not deny a worker 2022 COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave based solely on a lack of certification from a health care provider.

Wage Statement

The itemized wage statement or separate writing requirement ensures covered employees understand how many separate hours they have used for 2022 COVID-specific sick leave. The 2022 SPSL differs from the 2021 SPSL in that the paystub must list what has been used instead of what is available to use.  If no hours have yet been used then the paystub or other writing issued at the time wages are paid must indicate 0.

In addition, Labor Code Section 247.5 requires that records be kept for a three-year period on regular paid sick days and 2022 SPSL days accrued and used and that the records be made available to the Labor Commissioner or employee upon request.

Notice Requirement

Under California law, employers are required to display the required poster about 2022 SPSL in a place at the worksite where employees can easily read it.

If an employer’s covered employees do not frequent a workplace, the employer may satisfy the notice requirement by disseminating notice through electronic means.

If you have questions about 2022 COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave or related issues, contact a Jackson Lewis attorney to discuss.

On February 9, 2022, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed Senate Bill (SB) 114 which resurrects COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave (SPSL) for 2022.

The following are answers that employers need to their questions regarding the latest edition of California SPSL.

When does SPSL become effective?

SPSL becomes effective February 19, 2022, 10 days after enactment. However, the statute applies retroactively to January 1, 2022.

How long will SPSL be in effect?

SPSL requirements will remain in effect until September 30, 2022.

Read the full article at Jackson Lewis’ California Workplace Law Blog.

 In late January, California Governor Gavin Newsom announced that he and the legislature had reached an agreement on a framework to revive COVID-19 supplemental paid sick leave (SPSL), which expired in September 2021. However, there was no bill and only speculation on what coverage would look like.

On February 2, 2022, Assembly Bill 84, which details the newest version of SPSL, was released. Though still pending in the state legislature, there has been a promise by the state to move quickly to pass this bill.  As a budget bill, once signed by the governor, the bill will take effect immediately. A mirror version, Senate Bill 114, is anticipated to be released in the California Senate.  It is common for budget-related bills to have mirror bills in both the Assembly and the Senate to allow them to move more quickly through the legislature. Whichever bill moves more quickly is likely to be final.

Read the full article at Jackson Lewis’ California Workplace Law Blog. 

The Connecticut Department of Labor has released proposed regulations for the amended Connecticut Family and Medical Leave Act, which was effective January 1, 2022. The proposed regulations will be subject to a 30-day comment period, ending on February 28. A virtual hearing on the proposed regulations will take place on February 17.

Importantly, these proposed regulations will not be adopted until after the close of the comment period and are subject to change based on comments received. Therefore, we may not see final regulations until a few months after the effective date of the CT FMLA amendments.

The proposed regulations contain provisions related to the significant expansion of CT FMLA, including relevant definitions, the process for verifying familial relationships, and the ability for employees to proceed directly to court with complaints of CT FMLA violations. In addition, the proposed regulations also address issues not directly related to the amendments, including fitness-for-duty requests, contact with employees’ medical providers to obtain clarification and authentication of certifications, reasons for recertification requests, and other topics.

We will continue to monitor the status and eventual adoption of the proposed regulations.

If you have questions, please contact the Jackson Lewis attorney with whom you regularly work.