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posted 3 years ago

With the 2021 COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave law, which became law effective March 29, 2021, many qualifying employees now have access to 80 hours of paid time off for virus-related reasons.  Covered employees in the public or private sectors who work for employers with more than 25 employees are entitled to up to 80 hours of COVID-19 related sick leave.

Here’s what workers are now entitled to, and what employers are obligated to do in response to the law:

Covered Employee

A covered employee may take leave if the employee is unable to work or telework for any of the following reasons:

  • Caring for Yourself – the employee is subject to quarantine or isolation period related to COVID-19
  • Caring for Family Member – the employee is caring for a family member who is subject to the COVID-19 quarantine or isolation period, or is caring for a child whose school or place of care is closed due to COVID-19.
  • Vaccine Related – the employee is attending a vaccine appointment or cannot work or telework due to vaccine related symptons.

Companies with 25 or more Employees

Employees who cannot work or telework due to COVID-19 related reasons are entitled to paid sick leave if they work for an employer with more than 25 employees.  The Supplement covers the period of time between January 1, 2021 through September 30, 2021.  This means that employees who took qualifying leave prior to the law taking effect can request retroactive payment.  Employees are entitled to up to a maximum of $511 per day and $5,110 as a whole as part of the 2021 COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave

Companies with less than 25 Employees

Those who work for employers with under 25 employees are not entitled to the 2021 COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave.  Workers may be able to get partial pay through programs such as state disability insurance and paid family leave.

Employer Obligations

Employers with more than 25 employees must provide 2021 COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave, including retroactive payments for qualified leave that was taken going back to January 1, 2021.  Employers are obligated to make the leave available to covered employees immediately upon the employee’s oral or written request and must provide payment for the leave no later than the payday for the next regular payroll period after the employee took the leave.

Employers are required to make retroactive payments only if the employee makes an oral or written request to be paid for the leave.  The retroactive payment must be made by the payday for the next full pay period after the worker requests payment, and the employer is obligated to indicate how many 2021 COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave hours are left to the employee on their itemized wage statement. 

2021 COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave must be made available in addition to regular paid sick leave, and employers are required to list it separately from regular paid sick leave on employees’ itemized pay stubs or in separate writing when wages are paid.

Burden on Employers

The new paid sick leave requirement is challenging for employers.  One issue is the relatively short period of time employers have had to come into compliance with the rules.  Another issue relates to the retroactive payment to employees as employers going back in time, may or may not have done a very good job on documenting the reasons why employees were out. And trying to reconstruct that to see whether it meets one of the qualified reasons is going to be a challenge. 

The 2021 COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave poster must be displayed where employees can easily read it or disseminated to employees electronically.

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Disclaimer:  This information is made available by Bagla Law Firm, APC for educational purposes only as well as to give you general information and a general understanding of the law, and not to provide specific legal advice. This information should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed professional attorney in your state.


posted 6 days ago


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