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How to Pay Staff During COVID-19 Related Absence

State and federal COVID-related leave requirements expired 9/30/2021

May 06, 2021 17700

This resource covers how dentist employers must pay staff during a COVID-related illness, exposure or quarantine, time off to receive the vaccine or recover from complications of the COVID-19 vaccine, or to seek a diagnosis. Please note that in the event a local health department has mandated a practice closure, Cal/OSHA requires employers to maintain full employee pay, benefits and seniority during their absence and must not require an employee to use their state or local mandated sick leave. Labor Commissioner's Office FAQ's on Exclusion Pay Under the Emergency Temporary Standard

Is the COVID exposure or illness is work related?

  1. If no, employer and employee may use these in listed order:

    1. Employers of 26 or more, CA Supplemental COVID-19 Paid Sick Leave (Effective 2/19/2022)
    2. Available unused state or local mandated sick leave for eligible employees (at employee request)
    3. Employer-provided leave benefit (i.e. vacation or PTO)
    4. An employee may be eligible for State Disability Insurance (SDI) or Paid Family Leave (PFL) benefits depending on the circumstances.
  2. If yes:
    • If this was a close contact exposure, employer must use these in listed order: 
      1. When an employee is excluded by their employer for a work-related exposure and entitled to exclusion pay (Exclusion Pay FAQ link), an employer may not require the use of 2022 COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave before providing exclusion pay. 
    • If this is an illness, employer must use these in listed order: 
      1. Workers’ compensation wage replacement or State Disability Insurance (SDI) payments

Effective 2/19/2022 for employers of 26 or more. Is the COVID-related absence vaccine or booster related? 

  1. Effective retroactively from 1/1/2022, employees may be eligible for up to 40 hours of  2022 CA Supplimental Paid Sick Leave for time taken by the covered employee or a qualifying family member is attending a vaccine appointment or cannot work or telework due to vaccine-related side effects.

The requirement to provide “retroactive” 2022 COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave does not start until February 19, 2022. This “retroactive” payment is only required if the covered employee makes an oral or written request to be paid for leave that qualifies (as described above).

Note: All federal supplemental paid sick leave benefit programs expired 9/30/2021. Under 2022 CA Supplimental Paid Sick Leave, eligible employees of employers of 26 or more who took COVID-related time off during the effective period, 1/1/22 through 2/19/22, who did not receive benefits should be paid retroactively. Contact CDA Practice Support with any questions.

Efective until 1/1/2022, in addition to close contact exposure, caring for a family member, or COVID-related illness, supplemental paid sick leave has been expanded to cover employees taking time off to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, booster or to recover from complications of vaccine or booster in addition to time while awaiting results of a COVID-19 test or diagnosis.

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