We are a small business. Do we have to provide paid sick leave to employees affected by COVID-19?

A number of complex leave laws may be triggered when you have an employee affected by COVID-19.  You will want to consult employment counsel for your specific situation, but some general examples of leave laws affecting California employers with less than 50 employees include:

  • If the employee was infected at work, s/he may be eligible for workers’ compensation.
  • If the employee or a family member is sick or needs preventive care such as recommended quarantine or stay-home order, employees may choose to take the leave they have accumulated under the Paid Sick Leave Law This law entitles employees to one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked or 24 hours (3 days) provided per year, subject to allowable caps on accrual.
  • If the employee is unable to work because of medical quarantine or illness related to COVID-19, they may be eligible for short-term disability insurance payments that provide partial wage replacement.
  • If the employee is unable to work because of caring for an ill or quarantined family member, eligible employees may be entitled to up to eight weeks of partial pay under California Paid Family Leave law.
  • If the employee lives or works in a locale with its own paid sick leave requirements, the employee may be entitled to additional paid sick leave pursuant to that local government paid sick leave law.

If you have more than 25 employees, they may be entitled to up to 80 hours of COVID-19 supplemental paid sick leave under a recent law enacted by Governor Gavin Newsom on March 18, 2021.