The Hollywood Return to Work Agreement has been extended again, this time through April 30, 2022. Temporary CA COVID-19 supplemental paid sick leave provisions have been extended through September 30, 2022. Changes include the updated definition of “fully vaccinated,” specific mask requirements, and a limited list of accepted antigen tests.
What is the Return To Work Agreement?
The Return To Work or RTW Agreement is a COVID-19 safety agreement first created in 2020 by the AMPTP, representing studios and producers, and the guilds, including SAG-AFTRA, DGA, IATSE, Teamsters and Basic Crafts. The agreement has been credited with getting the film industry back to pre-pandemic levels of production. It lays out necessary protocols for productions to operate, covering masks, meals, testing vaccinations and more.
Most notable in the recent extension was the update of the “fully vaccinated” definition to include booster shots as of March 15. Read more here.
What about California Covid Supplemental Paid Sick Leave for productions?
California employers with 26 or more employees will now need to begin complying with California’s latest paid sick leave legislation, SB114 COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave (CA-SPSL). Key points below, or read more here.
- CA-SPSL becomes effective February 19, 2022, 10 days after enactment and will remain in effect through September 30, 2022. The statute applies retroactively to January 1, 2022.
- Covered Employees are employees in California who are unable to work or telework because of a positive COVID-19 test and/or covered reason(s).
- If Cal-OSHA COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) or Cal-OSHA Aerosol Transmissible Diseases Standard (ATDS) requires an employer to maintain an employee’s earnings when an employee is excluded from the workplace due to COVID-19 exposure, employers cannot require an employee to first exhaust CA Supplemental COVID Paid Sick Leave.
- Employers may count local jurisdictions’ COVID-19 paid sick leave toward their CA-SPSL obligation as long as the leave was provided for the same reasons and compensates the employee in an amount equal to or greater than CA-SPSL.
- For previously taken leave where the employer did compensate the employee in an amount equal to or greater than the amount an employee would be entitled under CA-SPSL, the employee should be credited for any Supplemental COVID Paid Sick Leave hours used upon employees’ oral or written request. The employer should be credited for providing those hours as CA-SPSL hours.
- Retroactive payments for any leave taken when the employer did not compensate the employee in an amount equal to or greater than the amount an employee would be entitled under CA-SPSL, can be requested in writing or orally by an employee. The employer shall provide the employee with a retroactive payment that provides for pay greater than or equal to the amount due under CA-SPSL on or before the next full pay period after the request is received.
- An employer may require an employee to provide documentation of a positive COVID-19 diagnostic test during the relevant period if an employee requests retroactive payment for such CA Supplemental COVID Paid Sick Leave.
Posting and Wage Statement Requirements
- Employee’s wage statements from Cast & Crew companies including CAPS and Media Services will reflect how much leave the employee has used, and “0 hours” until an employee uses the COVID paid sick leave in compliance with SB114.
- Employers must conspicuously display the poster issued by the state labor department in their workplaces. If employees do not frequent a workplace, employers can distribute the poster electronically. A copy of the poster can be found here.
Amount of Leave Employees Can Use
Full-time employees are entitled to up to 80 hours of CA Supplemental COVID Paid Sick Leave. The 80 hours is split into two 40-hour leave banks:
- 1st bank – 40 hours applies if the employee or the employee’s family member tests positive for COVID-19;
- 2nd Bank- 40 hours for covered reason(s) (see covered reasons and exceptions below).
Part-time employees are entitled to an amount of CA-SPSL as follows:
- If the employee has a normal weekly schedule: the total number of hours the employee worked each day for the employer over one week.
- If the employee works a variable number of hours: seven times the average number of hours the employee worked each day for the employer in the six months preceding the date the employee took CA-SPSL. If the employee has worked for the employer over a period of fewer than six months but more than seven days, AB 84 requires that this calculation instead be made over the entire period the employee has worked for the employer.
- If the employee works a variable number of hours and has worked for the employer over a period of seven days or fewer: the total number of hours the employee has worked for that employer.
Rate of Pay
- Media Services will calculate exempt employees’ rate of pay for CA Supplemental COVID Paid Sick Leave in the same manner as wages for other forms of paid leave time are calculated.
- Media Services will calculate non-exempt employees’ rate of pay in the same way as the regular rate of pay for the workweek where employee uses CA-SPSL or by dividing total wages, not including overtime premium pay, by the total non-overtime hours worked in the full pay periods occurring within the prior 90 days of employment in accordance with SB114.
- Employers need not pay more than $511 for each day an employee uses CA Supplemental COVID Paid Sick Leave, or more than $5,110 overall. Employees who max out because of the pay caps can use other available paid leave they have so they are fully compensated during the absence.
Reasons Your Production Employees Can Use Leave Under CA COVID SPSL
The following are covered reasons employees can use leave:
- The covered employee is subject to a quarantine or isolation period related to COVID-19.
- The covered employee has been advised by a health care provider to isolate or quarantine due to COVID-19.
- The covered employee is attending an appointment for themselves or a family member to receive a vaccine or a vaccine booster for protection against COVID-19.
- The covered employee is experiencing symptoms or caring for a family member experiencing symptoms, related to a COVID-19 vaccine or vaccine booster that prevents the employee from being able to work or telework.
- The covered employee is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and seeking a medical diagnosis.
- The covered employee is caring for a family member who is subject to an order or guidance or who has been advised to isolate or quarantine.
- The covered employee is caring for a child, whose school or place of care is closed or otherwise unavailable for reasons related to COVID-19 on the premises.
- If the covered employee, or a family member for whom the covered employee is providing care, tests positive for COVID-19.
- Time off for vaccine/booster can be limited by the employer to 3 days or 24 hours unless a health care provider verifies the employee or family member continues to experience symptoms related to the vaccine/booster.
- Employers can require employees to provide documentation of the test result when leave is taken for a positive COVID-19 test. If an employee refuses to provide documentation, the employer can deny leave. Additionally, when an employee or family member tests positive for COVID-19, employers can require that employees take a diagnostic test (at no cost to the employee) on or after the fifth day of the positive test and provide documentation of the results.
Please consult with your CAPS or Media Services payroll coordinator to determine the appropriate procedures and paycodes for use with CA Supplemental COVID Paid Sick Leave.
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