COVID Labor Laws and Employee Rights in California

Updated: Apr 26, 2021

A guide for California employers and employees.


Whether you are an employer or an employee in California, you need to know the basics of COVID-19 employment laws. If you know them already, then as an employer, you should do more to take care of your employees. If you're an employee, it's best that you know which benefits you're supposed to receive, which laws protects you from the pandemic, and that you have every right to take it up to labor attorney if need be.

COVID 19 labor laws in california

California Governor Gavin Newsom signed new COVID-19-related labor laws:

  1. Businesses or employers with 500 or more employees and health care employers with less than 500 employees are required to provide up to 80 hours of COVID-19-related supplemental paid sick leave to their California employees.

  2. Create a presumption that COVID-19-related illnesses or deaths are covered injuries for workers' compensation purposes under some circumstances.

  3. Mandate that employers with 500 or more employees provide up to 80 hours of COVID-19-related supplemental paid sick leave to their California employees.

  4. The following sections go into each of the new rules.


Supplemental Paid Sick Leave (AB 1867)


  • AB 1867 (California Labor Code 248, 248.1) mandates that employers give up to 80 hours of COVID-19-related supplementary paid sick leave to their California workers (CSPSL).

  • Employees that are not protected by the federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA)1 or California Executive Order N-51-20 will take advantage of this leave (EO N-51-20). 2

  • AB 1867's criteria for employers in the nonfood sector took effect on September 19, 2020.

  • This law expires on December 31, 2020, or when any federal extension of the FFCRA expires, whichever comes first.


Who Does the New CSPSL Law Protect?


The updated CSPSL standards apply to all California employers with 500 or more employees in the United States. AB 1867 also applies to public and private agencies with less than 500 employees that hire health care providers or first services and opt-out of the FFCRA's emergency paid sick leave provisions.


Who is eligible for the CSPSL?