Changes to San Diego employment law in 2022


The new san Diego pay transparency law, which we discussed separately in an October 5 client alert on the legislation, was among the new laws signed by California Governor Gavin Newsom in late September 2022 that impact California companies. The statutes described below, unless otherwise stated, come into force on January 1, 2023.

Employment law attorneys in san Diego

Extension of COVID-19 supplementary paid sick leave

San Diego COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave (SPSL) law, which was first passed in early 2021, is extended by AB 152 and will take effect on September 29, 2022. 

Through December 31, 2022, AB 152 expands the present SPSL law’s implementation by three months.

The state’s existing SPSL statute compels companies with 26 or more employees to offer supplementary paid sick leave to employees who cannot work due to COVID-19-related causes, as well as utilize leave to care for family members, as we previously highlighted in a February 15 client alert. 

Testing methods

If the employee refuses to give proof of a test result, an employer is not required to grant leave time under the second bank. 

The SPSL statute, as revised, makes it clear that employers are not additionally obligated to grant leave if an employee declines to do a diagnostic test. 

Further, AB 152 amends the SPSL law so that an employer may require the employee to submit to a third diagnostic test no later than 24 hours following the positive results of the second test. 

COVID-19 Relief Grant Program for California Small Businesses and Nonprofits

With the help of this new grant program, nonprofits and small enterprises can request and receive funds worth up to $50,000 to help cover the expenses of offering supplementary paid sick leave from January 1 through December 31, 2022. 

Eligible businesses must meet several conditions, including that they must be incorporated as a C corporation, S corporation, cooperative, limited liability company, partnership, or limited partnership, or registered as a 501(c)(3), 501(c)(6), or 501(c)(19).

That they must have started operations before June 1, 2021; they must be active and operating; they must have 26 to 49 employees, and they must provide payroll information.

Specific individuals depart

The state’s paid sick leave law (officially known as the Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act of 2014) and the San Diego Family Rights Act (CFRA) both allow qualified employees to take time off to care for “Family members,” as defined in each act. 

The “family member” term is widened by AB 1041 in both acts, enabling workers to take time off to care for a “designated person.”

Safeguards for emergencies

In response to situations where workers might feel obligated or expected to continue working during natural disasters, such as wildfires, or might be exposed to greater danger due to being prohibited from using communications devices during active shooter situations, SB 1044 introduces new employee protections. 

According to the legislation, an employer is not permitted to take or threaten to take adverse action against any employee who refuses to report to or leaves a workplace or worksite where the employee has a reasonable perception that the workplace or worksite is hazardous in the case of an “emergency circumstance.”

Safeguards for cannabis use outside of work

By the start of 2024, AB 2188 will make it illegal for an employer to discriminate against a candidate for a job, fire them, change their Employment law attorneys in san Diego, or punish them in any other way because they used marijuana outside of work.

They failed an employer-mandated drug test and had non-psychoactive cannabis metabolites in their hair, blood, urine, or other bodily fluids. 

Significantly, companies can still forbid cannabis use, possession, or impairment in the workplace.

Protections for reproductive health decisions

To protect reproductive health decision-making, SB 523, the Contraceptive Equity Act of 2022, amends the Employment law San Diego and Housing Act. 

This includes, but is not limited to, “a decision to use or access a particular drug, device, product, or medical service for reproductive health.” 

According to the amendments, it will be against the law for an employer to discriminate against a worker or applicant based on reproductive health decisions, or to demand disclosure of information about a worker’s or applicant’s reproductive health decisions as a requirement for employment, continued employment, or a benefit of work. 


Employers must evaluate their procedures, documents, and policies to ensure they are in line with the new rules. Employers should also keep an eye out for more state guidelines on similar legislation, such as AB 2188.

Also check: How much does it cost to hire an employment lawyer?

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