Supplemental Paid Sick Leave Grants Available!

Ahh. A bit of good news. Small California employers and non-profits that paid California COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave (“SPSL”) in 2022 may apply for grants up to $50,000.  The “California Small Business and Nonprofit COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave Relief Grant Program” will award funds on a first-come, first-served basis.

Eligible businesses must currently be operational and in business before June 1, 2021, employ between 26 and 49 employees, and be registered as a “C” or “S” corporation, an LLC, partnership, limited partnership, or a 501(c)(3), 501(c)(6), or 501(c)(19). Financial institutions, political lobbying groups, and entities operating outside of California are not eligible.

To receive reimbursement, an employer must document the amounts they paid for SPSL between January 1, 2022 and December 31, 2022. In addition to payroll records, employers will need to submit a signed affidavit attesting to employee count and other information. The Office of the Small Business Advocate is administering the program through a lender, Lendistry. Lendistry is hosting informational webinars this month to help businesses take advantage of the program.

The application portal opened on June 1, 2023, so hustle up!

Jennifer Shaw, Shaw Law Group

What Employers Should Know About the Updated Form I-9
Employers must switch to new version of the employment eligibility form
US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced a new Form I-9—which has been streamlined and shortened—that employers should use beginning Aug. 1, 2023.

Employers may continue to use the older Form I-9 (Rev. 10/21/19) through Oct. 31, 2023. After that date, they will be subject to penalties if they use the older form. The new version will not be available for downloading until Aug. 1.  

Additionally, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued a final rule that allows the agency to create a framework under which employers can implement alternative document examination procedures, such as remote document examination. The new form subsequently has a checkbox to indicate when an employee’s Form I-9 documentation was examined using a DHS-authorized alternative procedure.

DHS confirmed that only employers that use E-Verify who are in good standing may continue to conduct verifications electronically after Aug. 1, 2023, though the stage has been set for permanent remote examinations to become a reality for all employers based on the new rule. E-Verify employers performing remote verification must conduct a live video interview with the employee, retain copies of all documents presented in the I-9 verification process and create E-Verify cases for new employees, according to Ian Wagreich, an attorney with Hinshaw & Culbertson in Chicago.

Emily Dickens, SHRM’s chief of staff, head of public affairs and corporate secretary, said, “SHRM enthusiastically welcomes this new development, as we have been advocating for a remote Form I-9 verification process for years, particularly over the last three years with the implementation of the COVID-19 flexibilities. The Remote Form I-9 Alternative Procedure reflects the modern reality of the American workforce and HR processes and takes account of current and emerging technology – all while investing in the integrity and the security of the U.S. immigration system.”

“The new I-9 rule is a giant leap forward in that it recognizes that remote employment is prevalent and that some of the old I-9 rules needed to be updated,” said Greg Berk, an attorney with Sheppard Mullin in Costa Mesa, Calif. “E-Verify is a robust verification tool, and therefore, if an employer is enrolled in E-Verify, then allowing them more flexibility with remote employees is good policy.”

Completing the New Form I-9

Completed at the time of hire, Section 1 of the new form collects identifying information about the employee and requires the employee to attest to whether they are a U.S. citizen, noncitizen national, lawful permanent resident or noncitizen authorized to work in the United States.

Completed within three days of the employee’s hire, Section 2 of the new form collects information about the employee’s identity and employment authorization. The employee must present original documentation proving the employee’s identity and employment authorization, which the employer must review.

When new hires have preparers and/or translators assist them in completing Section 1, they should complete Supplement A.

Employers should fill out Supplement B when rehire occurs or reverification is required. This should be completed prior to the date that the worker’s employment authorization expires. Supplement B also may be used to record a name change.

Employers must maintain a person’s Form I-9 for as long as the individual works for the employer and for the required retention period after the termination of an individual’s employment (either three years after the date of hire or one year after the date employment ended, whichever is later).

Employers must make I-9 forms available for inspection upon request by officers of the DHS, the U.S. Department of Justice or the U.S. Department of Labor. Employers that don’t complete and retain I-9 forms properly may face civil money penalties and, in some cases, criminal penalties, according to the DHS.

What’s New in the Revised Form I-9?

USCIS made the following updates to the Form I-9:

  • Reduced Sections 1 and 2 to a single-sided sheet. No previous fields were removed. Rather, multiple fields were merged into fewer fields when possible.
  • Moved the Section 1 Preparer/Translator Certification area to a separate, standalone supplement (Supplement A) that employers can provide to employees when necessary. Employers may attach additional supplement sheets as needed. 
  • Moved the Section 3 Reverification and Rehire area to a separate, standalone supplement (Supplement B) that employers can print if or when rehire occurs or reverification is required. Employers may attach additional supplement sheets as necessary.
  • Removed use of “alien authorized to work” in Section 1 and replaced it with “noncitizen authorized to work” as well as clarified the difference between “noncitizen national” and “noncitizen authorized to work.”
  • Ensured the form can be filled out on tablets and mobile devices.
  • Removed certain features to ensure the form can be downloaded easily. This also removes the requirement to enter N/A in certain fields.
  • Updated the notice at the top of the form that explains how to avoid discrimination in the Form I-9 process.
  • Revised the Lists of Acceptable Documents page to include some acceptable receipts as well as guidance and links to information on automatic extensions of employment authorization documentation. Added a box that eligible employers must check if the employee’s Form I-9 documentation was examined under a DHS-authorized alternative procedure rather than via physical examination.  

USCIS also updated the following in the Form I-9 instructions:

  • Reduced length of instructions from 15 pages to 8 pages.
  • Added definitions of key actors in the Form I-9 process.
  • Streamlined the steps each actor takes to complete their section of the form.
  • Added instructions for use of the new checkbox for employers who choose to examine Form I-9 documentation under an alternative procedure.
  • Removed the abbreviations charts and relocated them to the M-274, Handbook for Employers: Guidance for Completing Form I-9.
Leah Shepherd, SHRM

How to Track Family Leave When Workweek Includes a Holiday

We have an employee that is currently on California Family Rights Act (CFRA)/Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) leave and will be using leave during the week of the Fourth of July holiday. How do we count the holiday for leave tracking purposes?

Anyone familiar with administering an employee’s leave of absence under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and the California Family Rights Act (CFRA) knows the basic rules can make one’s head spin.

Of course, there is a significant amount of paperwork just getting an employee on CFRA/FMLA leave between the notices, designation forms and wage replacement pamphlets.

Tracking the leave, however, can be its own battle for leave administrators due to the complexities around intermittent leave. So, how do holidays complicate matters further?

Tracking CFRA/FMLA Leave

Under the CFRA/FMLA leave rules, an eligible employee may take up to 12 weeks of leave in a designated 12-month period. The regulations highlight that “weeks” under these laws means the employee’s regular workweek. The leave does not have to be taken all at once and often is dictated by the qualifying reason for the leave.

Intermittent leave most commonly occurs for the employee’s own serious health condition or that of a qualifying family member. The leave duration is determined by the medical provider’s certification, which could certify whole weeks off or increments as small as an hour in a workday.

In the case of intermittent leave, employers will need to break down the employee’s 12 weeks into days and hours and then track from there.

For example, if an employee who ordinarily works five days per week needs two days off, multiply the 12 weeks by the five days to get 60 total days that the employee may have off in the 12-month tracking period. Every day used for leave gets subtracted from the balance until the 12-month period resets or the employee exhausts the leave.


An employer’s holiday policy can affect how we track leave depending upon the reason for the leave. Both CFRA and FMLA regulations are consistent with how to track leave accounting for a holiday in that workweek.

Let’s assume that an employer closes the workplace for the Fourth of July holiday. In this case, if the employee is taking a full workweek off during the week in which the Fourth of July holiday falls, then the employee still will have a full workweek deducted from their leave balance.

If, instead, the employee is taking intermittent leave and works some days in the workweek and takes other days off for CFRA/FMLA leave in the same workweek, then only those days taken for CFRA/FMLA leave will count, and the day off for the holiday will not count.

If the employer scheduled the employee to work on the holiday and the employee does not work the holiday for CFRA/FMLA reasons, then the employer may deduct that day from the employee’s leave bank.

Opinion Letter

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) reinforced this position in a recent opinion letter responding to a question whether we should consider the workweek in which a holiday falls to be a shortened workweek for intermittent tracking.

In this case, if an employee works two days during the week and uses two days of leave, the employer wanted clarification if it would be a half week of leave instead of two-fifths of a week because of the shortened week.

The DOL declined to follow the reasoning because the regulations clearly state employers should track intermittent leave based on the actual leave taken, not by any artificially shortened workweeks due to holidays.

Matthew J. Roberts, CalChamber HR Watchdog