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Welcome to California, land of opportunity, lawsuits, wealth, unemployment, highways, draughts, earthquakes, agriculture, Hollywood, Silicon Valley, farmland, beaches, deserts, forests, national parks and crowded urban centers. Or, to put it simply: Welcome to California, land of contradictions.

For years, companies have alternately benefited from and bemoaned California’s business climate. While a broad population of consumers and a constant influx of skilled workers make it easy to build a business, the state’s complex and onerous regulatory laws make it difficult to survive and achieve sustained growth. 

California COVID-19 State Regulations

Below is a round-up of COVID-19 state regulations for employers navigating how to operate safely during the pandemic. If you believe there may be a discrepancy between a state and local order that affects you or your business, you should contact your local government and/or competent local counsel for further advice.

Updated: COVID-19 Reporting Requirements for Workplace Exposure

Who: Public and private California employers

When: January 1, 2021

Update 10/7/20: Governor Newsom issued AB 2537 which mandates that public and private employers of health care employees that provide direct patient care, like general acute care hospitals, provide PPE and follow regulations to ensure workers use the PPE accordingly. It also asserts days in 2021 that employers will need to be ready to report to the Department of Industrial Relations the “highest seven-day consecutive daily average consumption of personal protective equipment” and maintain a stockpile of PPE equipment that equates to 3 months of normal consumption. See AB 2537 for further details.

Governor Gavin Newsom signed AB 685 on September 17, 2020, that requires California employers to notify employees when there has been a COVID-19 workplace exposure and local public health departments when there has been an “outbreak.”

Notifying Employees

When an employer receives notice of a potential COVID-19 exposure, they have one business day to provide a written notice to employees, their representative (if applicable), and the employers of any subcontractors who were on-site at the same time as the potential exposure.

In addition to the written notice of potential COVID-19 exposure, employers should also include information about the federal, state, and local COVID-19-related benefits that employees may qualify for as well as the health and safety plan the employer will implement to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

A notice of a potential COVID-19 exposure could come from:

  • A public health official or health care provider that an employee was exposed to a “qualifying individual” at the workplace,
  • An employee or employee’s emergency contact they are a “qualifying individual,”
  • The testing protocol the employer uses that identifies a “qualifying individual,” or
  • A subcontractor’s employer that a “qualifying individual” was on-site.

A “qualifying individual” is someone who has a confirmed case of COVID-19, has a positive COVID-19 diagnosis from a health care provider, has a COVID-19-related order to quarantine or isolate form a public health official, or has died from COVID-19.

Employers must maintain records of all written notifications for at least 3 years.

Notifying the Local Health Department

If 3 or more employees are diagnosed with COVID-19, the employer must report the cases to the local health department.

Additionally, the California Department of Public Health released guidance, Responding to COVID-19 in the Workplace for Employers.

Additional Resources

New 10/23/20: Employer Guidance on AB 685: Definitions

New 10/23/20: Employer Questions about AB 685

Responding to COVID-19 in The Workplace for Employers

AB685

California Executive Orders

California Department of Public HealthCalifornia COVID-19 Resources

Department of Health Issues New Quarantine and Isolation Guidance in October

The California Department of Health released self-quarantine and self-isolation instructions for people who have been exposed to, who have, or who likely have COVID-19.

Supplemental Paid Sick Leave to California Workers Due to COVID-19, AB 1867

Who: Employers with 500+ employees

When: September 19, 2020 (for non-food sector employees, see below for more on food industry guidance) to December 31, 2020

What:

Update 9/14/20: The Labor Commissioner updated its COVID-19 Information webpage to include the food industry and non-food industry posters. It also released FAQs.

AB 1867 was signed into law to require large employers to provide supplemental paid sick leave if employees meet the qualifications due to COVID-19. This Act solidifies Executive Order N-51-20 as part of the California code.

The reasons for using the supplemental paid sick leave include:

  • A federal, state, or local quarantine or isolation order because of COVID-19
  • A self-quarantine or self-isolation order because of COVID-19 from a health care provider
  • The employer bars the employee from working because of health concerned related to the transmission of COVID-19

Full time employees that work 40 hours/week are eligible for 80 hours of paid sick leave. Part-time employees that works less than 40 hours/week may take leave that is equal to the number of hours the employee works in a two week period. Eligible employees receive leave at their regular rate of pay, capped at $511/day and $5,110 total.

Other accrued leave may be used after the supplement sick leave through AB 1867 is used. Employers can’t require employees to use other paid leave first. Employers will need to account for any remaining balance of the supplemental sick leave on employee wage statements. If an employer provided COVID-19-related supplemental paid sick leave on their own, before AB 1867, that sick pay may retroactively count towards the $5,110 total.

Employers must provide a poster notice to inform employees of their rights of supplemental paid sick leave for non-food sectors and food sector employees, including health care workers and emergency responders.

Additional Resources

AB 1867

FAQs On Supplemental Paid Sick Leave

California Department of Public Health

CA COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave for Non-Food Sector Employees

CA COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave for Food Sector Workers   

California Side by Side Comparison of COVID-19 Paid Leave

Workers Compensation Benefits

Who: Employers with 5+ employees

When: September 17, 2020, although retroactively effective to July 6, 2020,  to January 1, 2023

What:

When Executive Order N-62-20 expired on July 5, 2020, the California legislature introduced SB 1159. Governor Gavin Newsom signed SB 1159 into law on September 17, 2020.

The law expands workers’ compensation coverage contracted COVID-19 cases through 2022 and does 3 things:

  • It establishes, as part of the California code, the previous Executive Order’s rebuttable presumption that a worker who contracts COVID-19 did so at the workplace 
  • Certain employees, like first responders and health care professionals, health care facility workers are also presumed to have contracted COVID-19 at work if the worker tests positive for COVID-19 within 14 days of working, and the date was after July 6, 2020. This presumption can be disputed or rejected by an employer within 30 days.
  • The law applies to employers with 5+ employees where there is an outbreak at work, meaning that an employee will be believed to have contracted COVID-19 at work if they test positive within 14 days of working on-site, the date worked was after July 6, 2020, and the positive test occurred during an “outbreak” at work.

An “outbreak” is defined as:

  • For employers with less than 100 employees: 4 employees test positive for COVID-19 within 14 calendar days
  • For employers with 100+ employees: 4% of employees test positive for COVID-19 within 14 calendar days.
  • Public authorities order the workplace to close because of the risk of COVID-19.

Reporting

Employers with 5+ employees must inform their workers’ compensation carrier within 3 business days that an employee tested positive, the date of the positive test, the employee’s workplace address, the highest number of employees who went to work within 45 days of when the impacted employee last worked. The report may be made through email or fax.

Additional Resources

SB 1159

California Department of Public Health

California Executive Orders

Executive Order N-62-20

California Division of Workers’ Compensation

Cal/OSHA Urges Employers to Review Health and Safety Plans; Hosts Industry-Specific COVID-19 Webinars

Who: All California businesses

What: Cal/OSHA recently updated its guidance for employers, urging them to keep their Injury and Illness Prevention Programs (IIPP) up to date. IIPP’s must cover 8 topic areas including responsibility, compliance, communication, hazard assessment, accident and exposure investigation, hazard correction, training and instruction, and recordkeeping.

If an employee requests to see the IIPP, employers must provide a hard copy, unless the employee requests it electronically, within 5 business days. In addition to ensuring that employees have access to the IIPP employers must be sure their programs include written verbiage about:

  • Healthy and safe workplace practice measures
  • Measures to take to identify, evaluate and investigate workplace hazards, injuries and illnesses
  • How to communicate hazards to employees
  • Employee training procedures for a new or unrecognized hazard

Employers are also responsible for training employees on the IIPP and for informing them that they can request access to the program.

Additionally, Cal/OSHA has organized industry-specific webinars throughout the month of September. The full schedule can be found here.

Additional Resources

Cal/OSHA and Statewide Industry Guidance on COVID-19

Employee Access to Injury and Illness Prevention Program

Supplemental Paid Sick Leave for Food Industry Workers

Who: Food industry employers with 500+ employees

When: Effective April 16, 2020 to December 31, 2020

What:

Update 9/21/20: A new poster is issued for the food sector workers titled CA COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave for Food Sector Workers that employers need to post by September 19, 2020. Due to the passage of AB 1867, food sector workers no longer need to be considered part of critical infrastructure due to labor code section 248.

Executive Order N-51-20 was issued in April to require the food industry employers to provide employees with Supplemental Paid Sick Leave of up to two weeks (80 hours) for any qualifying COVID-19 reasons. Part-time employees are eligible for the total number of hours they normally work in a two-week period.

Supplemental Paid Sick Leave is paid out at the employee’s regular rate of pay in the previous pay period, the state or local minimum wage, and is capped at $511/day and $5,110 total. This paid leave on top of other paid sick leave that employers are required to provide.

Among the qualifying industries for this requirement are organizations that:

  • Relate to canning, freezing, and preserving food
  • Handle products after harvest
  • Prepare agricultural products for market on the farm
  • Are agricultural
  • Are food facilities or any operation that stores, prepares, packages, serves, etc. food for human consumption
  • Handle food delivery from a facility

Acceptable uses of the Supplemental Paid Sick Leave include:

  • Federal, state or local quarantine or isolation order because of COVID-19
  • A self-quarantine or self-isolation order because of COVID-19 from a health care provider
  • The employer prohibits the employee from working for health concerns related to the transmission of COVID-19

No formal documentation is required but employers must provide the Supplemental Paid Sick Leave immediately upon an oral or written request.

Impacted employers must post the California COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave for Food Sector Workers poster or distribute it to employees that are not located on-site

Mandated Face Coverings

Update 11/16/20: On November 16, 2020, the California Department of Health issued new guidance for face coverings. Individuals must wear face coverings outside of their homes. There there are several exceptions, including being in the car alone or with immediate household members, working in an office or room alone, actively eating or drinking as long as they are a safe distance from others, and more. A full list can be found here.

On June 18, 2020, the California Department of Public Health issued guidance that all California residents are required to wear a cloth face covering in high-risk situations. A cloth face covering is any material or fabric that covers the nose and mouth.

Examples are more extensive in the guidance, but include:

  • Inside and outside public areas.
  • Performing work onsite or offsite whenever interacting with the public or a space frequented by the public, common areas like hallways and elevators, wherever food is prepared to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
  • Taking public transportation, ridesharing, or taxis.
  • Whenever obtaining any health care services.

There are exceptions to this rule if individuals meet certain requirements. Remember that face coverings don’t replace social distancing, hygiene, or sanitation guidelines.

How:

  • Employers should review industry-specific guidance.
  • Be sure your employees know what kinds of masks they should be wearing and how to wear them properly
  • Be sure to check your local county or city mandates for additional requirements, like providing employees with coverings.

Additional Resources

CDPH Guidance for the Use of Face Coverings

Face Coverings, Masks, and Respirators

Statewide Industry Guidance to Reduce Risk

California Public Health Officials Release Guidance Requiring Californians to Wear Face Coverings in Most Settings Outside the Home (Press Release)

Enforcement of the California Consumer Privacy Act Takes Effect July 1, 2020

Who: Covered California Businesses

When: Effective Immediately

What: As of July 1, 2020, the enforcement of the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) is effective. The CCPA may impact the requirements that the COVID-19 pandemic has placed on businesses to help prevent the spread of infection.

Primarily intended to protect consumers, the CCPA uses a definition of consumer that extends to employees as well. Businesses will need to determine the source of the personal information and how it will be collected and used. When it comes to employees’ personal information, businesses will need to determine if the information will be used in any way outside of the employment relationship between a business and its workers. Consulting with legal counsel may help with this determination.

As businesses work to meet state and local orders about COVID-19 hygiene and safety requirements, and gather personal information, they should review and update their privacy notices to ensure they comply with the CCPA. Under the regulation, employers must provide notice to consumers, which can include individuals like employees, job applicants, and contractors, at or before collection of personal information about what categories of personal information will be collected and why their personal information is being collected.

Personal information is defined by the CCPA as, “information that identifies, relates to, describes, is capable of being associated with, or could reasonably be linked, directly or indirectly, with a particular consumer or household.”

Additional Resources

Chapter 20. California Consumer Privacy Act Regulations

California Unemployment Insurance Benefits Available for Long-Term Unemployed

Who: California employees

When: Effective Immediately

What: California has taken two actions to increase long-term unemployment benefits to workers. The California Employment Development Department completed its Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation rollout which provides up to 13 weeks of unemployment insurance benefits for individuals who have run out of the normal benefits.

Governor Newsom signed AB 103 into law, qualifying the state for federal standards of unemployment benefits. These benefits include an additional 7 weeks of unemployment benefits.

These actions have increased the possible unemployment insurance benefits to up to 20 weeks and will be utilized through the Federal-State Extended Duration (FED-ED) benefits program.

In order to be eligible, workers must have earned more than 40 times the weekly benefit amount or 1.5 times their highest quarterly earnings during the base period, covering 12 months, divided into 4 consecutive quarters.

Those who qualify will be eligible for the $600 stimulus through July 25, 2020, based on the end date named in the federal CARES Act. FED-ED will be re-establishing the requirement that workers answer basic questions about their unemployment status.

Additional Resources

FED-ED Extension

California Employment Development Department PEUC

California Employment Development Department COVID-19

California COVID-19 FAQs

Cal/OSHA Issues Additional Guidance for Reporting COVID-19 Cases

Cal/OSHA’s guidance regarding recording and reporting COVID-19 cases is similar to federal OSHA guidance, requiring employers to investigate if a COVID-19 case is work-related and record them on the company’s log when the case results in death, lost time, medical treatment, or loss of consciousness.

Separate to federal guidance Cal/OSHA goes on to require that employers may need to report the work-related COVID-19 case when it results in death or hospitalization. Additionally, the state agency mandates that any work-related case that results in death or hospitalization must be reported, no matter how much time has elapsed.

The work-related case may also need to record it, and maybe even report it, if it causes “significant injury or illness” as stated by a medical professional.

Other ways Cal/OSHA differs from federal guidance:

  • There may be instances where a confirmed positive COVID-19 test isn’t needed for a reportable or recordable case, suspected cases may qualify for reporting or recording.
  • Because Cal/OSHA requires the reporting of a “serious injury or illness,” employers may need to report a case of COVID-19 regardless of whether it is work-related.
  • Determining if a COVID-19 case is eligible for workers’ compensation is a separate decision from determining if a case is recordable or reportable to the agency.

Additional Resources

Recording and Reporting Requirements for COVID-19 Cases

Employer Injury and Illness Prevention Program Expanded

Under guidance that came out in late May, Cal/OSHA has modified its rules to mandate that California employers create and enforce an Injury and Illness Prevention Program (IIPP). The IIPP program must contain 4 key provisions listed under the California Code of Regulations, title 8, section 3203. The Program must address four key areas including procedures for developing health and safety work practices, procedures for finding and assessing workplace hazards, injuries, and illnesses, developing systems for employee hazard communications, and employee training.

The program must take into consideration COVID-19 infection control in the workplace and follow CDC recommendations. It must be a written document that is readily available to employees. Employers are to provide preventable measures and training.

There are additional industry-specific considerations for businesses like agriculture, child care, and construction.

Additional Resources

KPA’s How California Auto Dealers Can Get Back to Work Under Cal/OSHA’s Guidelines

§3203. Injury and Illness Prevention ProgramCal/OSHA Interim General Guidelines for Protecting Workers from COVID-19

WARN Act Notice Requirements Temporarily Suspended

Who: California employers with 75+ employees

When: Effective Immediately until the end of this emergency

What: Governor Gavin Newsom signed Executive Order N-31-20, which relieves employers of the 60-day notice requirement of the California Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (Cal-WARN).

The executive order waives the current requirement that employers with 75+ employees in the last year must provide 60 days’ notice before conducting large-scale layoffs (i.e., 50+ employees in a 30-day period), relocation, termination, or furloughs. The new requirement states that employers must:

  • Give as much notice as is practical.
  • Be consistent with the federal WARN Act in that the mass layoff, etc. must be caused by COVID-19-related business circumstances that were not reasonably foreseeable at the time that notice would have been required.
  • Give written notices as outlined in Cal-WARN. When the notice is distributed, also provide a brief statement outlining the reason for reducing the 60-day notice requirement.
  • The statement must include, “If you have lost your job or been laid off temporarily, you may be eligible for Unemployment Insurance (UI). More information on UI and other resources available for workers is available at labor.ca.gov/coronavirus2019.”

How:

If you’re considering a mass layoff, closure, relocation because of COVID-19, aside from contemplating consulting with competent legal counsel, be sure to:

  • Determine whether you’re covered by Cal-WARN.
  • If you’re covered, modify your procedures to comply with the Executive Order by providing proper notice, stating clearly that the reason is because of COVID-19.
  • Ensure you have a statement stating why you aren’t following the normal 60-day notice and the requirement statement above.
  • In addition to distributing the written notice to impacted employees, be sure to notify the California Employment Development Department, the local workforce investment board, and the elected official of each city and county government where the layoff, closure, etc. occurs.

Additional Resource

COVID-19 Resource for Employers and Workers

KPA Partner Fisher Phillips’ Auto Dealership COVID-19 FAQ

Who: California auto dealerships

When: Effective Immediately

What: Fisher Phillips has put together a comprehensive list of questions that auto dealers may be facing in light of California’s executive order and the evolving policies issued by the federal government.

In a frequent asked questions format, Fisher Phillips answers questions involving:

  • Continuing operations at your dealership
  • Length of California’s Executive Order
  • Layoffs versus furloughs
  • Paid sick leave and its relation to the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
  • Employment issues revolving around positive COVID-19 tests

How:

If you have questions about your business’s response to COVID-19, take time to review the FAQ to see if Fisher Phillips may have an answer to your question.

Sacramento Paid Leave

Update 10/12/20: Employers must implement requirements from the Worker Protection, Health and Safety Act of 2020 by October 16, 2020. See below regarding the law’s requirements for providing paid leave to employees.

Update 9/28/20: The Sacramento County Worker Protection, Health and Safety Act of 2020 that takes effect on October 1, 2020, includes a supplemental paid sick leave requirement for employers located in the unincorporated parts of the county and have more than 500 employees nationwide. Full-time employees qualify for 80 hours of paid sick leave and part-time employees will receive an amount that is equal to the number of hours worked on average over a two-week period. Employers are obligated to pay for SPSL at $511/day or for a total of $5,110.

See below for the original posted information from July 2020.

In addition to the supplemental paid sick leave, employers must implement social distancing and health and safety protocols and procedures like providing face coverings for employees, daily cleaning and disinfection of high-touch areas, in addition to other protocols that can be found on pages 5-6 of the Ordinance.

Original Posted Information:

Who: Employers with 500+ employees

When: July 15, 2020 to December 31, 2020

What: The Sacramento City Council passed the emergency ordinance, the Worker Protection, Health, and Safety Act, that requires employers not covered by the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) to provide up to 80 hours of supplemental paid sick leave for the same qualifying reasons under the FFCRA.

Full-time employees qualify for 80 hours of paid sick leave and part-time employees will receive an amount that is equal to the number of hours worked on average over a two-week period. Employers should calculate that rate by using the number of hours worked for each week during the 6 months immediately preceding July 15, 2020, multiplied by 2.

Under the law, employees may also use supplemental paid sick leave if they can’t work or telework because they’re part of a vulnerable population due to their age or their compromised immune system.

Employers are required to implement social distancing and cleaning protocols and practices, including providing face coverings for employees and mandating the use of face coverings when social distancing can’t be maintained.

Employers can’t require an employee to use other accrued paid sick leave, paid time off, or vacation time before using supplemental paid sick leave (SPSL). Employers can’t require an employee to find a replacement work as a condition of using SPSL and also can’t discipline or dock attendance points for an employee’s use of SPSL. Employers also can’t retaliate against employees that exercise their rights under the ordinance.

If employers provided additional paid sick leave starting March 19, 2020, they may choose to use that leave time as credit against the number of SPSL hours required by the ordinance.

Employees have the right to refuse work if the employer is violating the ordinance in any way. If they’re asked for it, employees must provide the reason for requesting the SPSL, although a doctor’s note isn’t required. Employees should give reasonable notice if it’s required by the employer.

Additional Resources

Ordinance No. 2020-0026

City of Sacramento COVID-19 Website

San Francisco Paid Sick Leave

Who: All San Francisco employers

When: Effective Immediately

What: San Francisco Mayor London Breed announced a “Workers and Families First Program” to expand paid sick leave to workers impacted by COVID-19. The program will provide financial assistance to businesses and nonprofits to provide an additional five days of paid sick leave to employees on top of their existing policies.

Up to 20% of Program funds will be set aside for small San Francisco businesses with 50 or fewer employees. The Program will contribute up to 40 hours (or one week) at $15.59/hour (minimum wage) per employee or $623 per employee. The employer must pay the difference between minimum age and the employee’s hourly wage.

The program is available if:

  • The worker has used all of their currently available sick leave
  • The worker has used or isn’t eligible for federal or state supplemental sick leave
  • The employer agrees to extend sick leave beyond its current policy.

How:

Review your current sick leave policies and determine if your business and employees could benefit from this new program.

Additional Resources

San Francisco Paid Sick Leave & The Coronavirus

Assistance and Guidance for Businesses and Workers Impacted by COVID-19

City and County Office of Labor Standards Enforcement

San Francisco Paid Public Health Emergency Leave Extended

Update 9/21/2020: Effective September 11, 2020, employees and independent contractors are protected against adverse actions due to COVID-19. The Office of Labor Standards Enforcement provided implementation guidance for employers. See the City & County of San Francisco Public Health Emergency Leave Poster.

Employers within San Francisco city limits must provide Public Health Emergency Leave Ordinance (PHELO) leave to:

  • Full-time employees, regardless of how long they’ve been employed
  • Part-time employees, regardless of how long they’ve been employed
  • Temporary employees, regardless of how long they’ve been employed
  • Workers that perform labor or services within the city, which can include employees that live inside city limits but work from home 56 or more hours/year or employees that work outside of the city but stop inside city limits to perform work, like deliveries, for 56 or more hours/year
  • Employees considered employees under California law and have worked in San Francisco

Health care or emergency response employers may choose to limit the available leave through PHELO but at minimum, these employees must be able to use leave if they can’t telework or get to work because of COVID-19-like symptoms, are waiting on a COVID-19 diagnosis, and don’t meet CDC criteria for health care workers to return to work.

Full-time employees that work 40 hours per week as of February 25, 2020, are eligible for 80 hours of paid leave through PHELO. Part-time employees are eligible for that equals the average number of hours over a two-week period from six months prior to February 25, 2020 (including any taken leave time). Leave may be taken by an employee at any time as long as the hours of leave don’t exceed the average number of worked hours over a one-week period in the prior 6 months leading up to February 25, 2020.

Employers must distribute the notice provided by the Office of Labor Standards in a manner that will reach all employees, whether it be online or by physically posting the notice in a conspicuous place. The notice must be in all languages spoken by at least 5% of the workforce.

Additional Resources:

New: City & County of San Francisco Public Health Emergency Leave Poster

New: San Francisco COVID-Related Employment Protections Ordinance Implementation Guidance September 11, 2020

Emergency Ordinance – COVID-Related Employment Protections

Emergency Ordinance: Public Health Emergency Leave File No. 200355

San Francisco Public Health Emergency Leave Notice

Updated: San Francisco Public Health Emergency Leave Ordinance FAQs (September 18, 2020)

San Francisco Coronavirus COVID-19 Guidance and Resources

San Jose Provides Emergency Paid Sick Leave

From April 7, 2020, to December 31, 2020, an emergency order has mandated that San Jose private employers provide an additional two weeks of paid sick leave to employees during the COVID-19 public health emergency.

Who: This order covers employers that don’t fall under the FFCRA paid sick leave benefits. Employers with 500 or more employees and small employers with 50 or fewer employees are covered by the San Jose emergency order. Employees who qualify for the paid sick leave must be considered essential and have to leave their homes to conduct their work. Employees who work from home aren’t eligible.

Reasons for using emergency paid sick leave include if the employee:

  • Has been asked to quarantine by a public health official or government order,
  • Is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and is seeking a medical diagnosis,
  • Must care for a family member that has been instructed to quarantine by a public health official or government order, or
  • Must care for a family member whose day care provider has closed.

Employers must provide 80 hours of paid sick leave to full-time employees. Part-time employees are eligible for paid sick leave hours that equal the number of worked hours over two weeks, using the average number of hours worked per day during six months leading up to the emergency order effective date (April 7, 2020).

Total paid sick leave that an employee can use for their own care is capped at $511 per day and $5,110 overall. Paid out paid sick leave is is capped at $200 per day and $2,000 total if the employee is caring for someone else.

Recordkeeping: Employers must record and maintain documentation of employees using time under the paid sick leave ordinance. Recorded information includes: employee’s name, the date(s) of leave requested, the reason for leave, and a statement on why the employee is unable to work because of the reason for leave.

Exemptions exist for employers who already provide the same amount of personal or paid leave to their employees.

Additional Resources:

San Jose Urgency Ordinance No. 30390

San Jose Know Your Sick Leave Ordinance Rights

San Jose COVID-19 Sick Leave Ordinance FAQs

San Jose Urgency COVID-19 Paid Sick Leave Ordinance Website

San Mateo Emergency Paid Sick Leave

Who:

  • Employers with 500+ employees
  • Employees who work in the county’s unincorporated areas since January 1, 2020
  • Food sector workers who are covered by California Executive Order N-51-20 are excluded

When: July 8, 2020 to December 31, 2020

What: San Mateo County adopted an emergency ordinance to require large employers to provide temporary emergency paid sick leave related to COVID-19. The ordinance is aimed at larger employers that aren’t covered by the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA).

Full-time employees are entitled to 80 hours of supplemental paid sick leave (SPSL). Part-time employees are entitled to SPSL that equals no more than the employee’s average number of hours worked during a 2-week period, calculated between January 1, 2020 through July 7, 2020. SPSL must be paid at the employee’s regular rate of pay, up to $511/day or $5,110 total, regardless of the reason.

Employers must provide SPSL following the employee’s written request if the individual can’t work or telework based upon the reasons outlined under the FFCRA. The emergency ordinance specifies that the request must be made in writing, whether through email or text.

Exemptions exist for employees who are health care providers, aviation security workers, or emergency responders, as defined by the FFCRA.

If employers provided additional paid sick leave between March 17, 2020 and June 30, 2020, they may choose to use that leave time as credit against the number of SPSL hours required by the ordinance.

Employers can’t retaliate against employees that exercise their rights under the ordinance.

Additional Resources

County of San Mateo Emergency Sick Leave OrdinanceCounty of San Mateo

Santa Rosa Emergency Paid Sick Leave

Who: All private employers, including those covered by the federal Emergency Paid Sick leave Act, and employers with 500+ employees.

When: July 7, 2020 to December 31, 2020, with a possibility for extension

What: Santa Rosa’s City Council passed an emergency ordinance requiring employers provide up to 80 hours of temporary sick leave to full-time employees. Part-time employees are entitled to SPSL that equals no more than the employee’s average number of hours worked during a 2-week period.

The ordinance doesn’t apply to employers that have provided employees, as of July 7, 2020, with some combination of paid personal leave or paid sick leave that the ordinance requires. Employers that provide paid sick leave that amounts to less than the emergency ordinance must comply with the new law. This temporary leave is to be in addition to the leave that the employer already provides.

The reasons for use of the temporary paid sick leave are like those outlined by the FFCRA. The leave must be paid at the employee’s regular rate of pay, up to $511/day or $5,110 total. Employees aren’t required to provide written notes from health care professional for employer documentation.

Employers can’t require an employee to find a replacement work as a condition of using temporary paid sick leave and can’t discipline or dock attendance points for an employee’s use of the leave. Employers also can’t retaliate against employees that exercise their rights under the ordinance.

Additional Resources

City of Santa Rosa Urgency Ordinance

Santa Rosa Temporary Sick Leave Ordinance for COVID-19

Sonoma County Emergency Paid Sick Leave

Who: Employers with 500 or more employees, including health care workers

When: August 18, 2020 to December 31, 2020

What: Under County Ordinance No. 2020-0815, Sonoma County employees who work for employers who aren’t covered under the FFCRA (i.e., those with 500 or more employees) are entitled to 80 hours of emergency paid sick leave if they are full-time, work at least 40 hours per week, and have a qualifying reason. Part-time employees are entitled to the average hours in a two-week period.

Reasons for using the emergency paid sick leave include if the employee:

  • Has been asked to quarantine by a health care provider or government order,
  • Is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and is seeking a medical diagnosis,
  • Must care for a family member that has been instructed to quarantine by a public health official, health care provider, or government order, or
  • Must care for a family member whose senior care, school, or childcare provider has closed.

Employees are paid at their regular rate of pay (as calculated per the FFCRA) with a cap of $511 per day and $5,110 total for all types of qualifying reasons for leave.

The Ordinance also covers employees who work more than 2 hours in unincorporated parts of the County, not including Santa Rosa employees.

Employers are required to notify employees about their rights to supplemental paid sick leave by posting a notice in English and Spanish either in an email, on an intranet, or in the workplace.

Additional Resources

2020-0815

Sonoma County COVID-19 Resources

City of Los Angeles Passes Supplemental Paid Sick Leave

Effective April 7, 2020, employers in the city of Los Angeles, who have more than 500 employees or more than 2,000 employees across the U.S., must provide supplemental paid sick leave of up to 80 hours if the employee has been asked to quarantine by a public health official, is a member of a high-risk population, must care for a family member that has been instructed to quarantine, or they need to care for a family members whose day care has closed. This rule also includes employees who may live outside of LA but work inside city limits.

Note that there are exemptions from this rule like critical delivery service employees, new businesses, or closed businesses. Additionally, a collective bargaining agreement may supersede this rule and legal counsel should be consulted.

Pay Rate: Is the amount equivalent to an employee’s average two-week pay during the time between January 1, 2020 through April 28, 2020, maxing out at $511 per day and $5,110 overall.

Documenting and Recordkeeping: Employers can’t require medical notes or other official documentation for the leave taken, they may request a verbal or written general reason for taking the leave, without getting into detailed medical information. Employers must keep track of the leave taken including the employee’s name, dates requested, general reason, approval or denial, and the reason for denial if applicable.

Additional Resources

Public Order Under the City of Los Angeles Emergency Authority Supplemental Paid Sick Leave Due to COVID-19 (May 19, 2020)

City of Los Angeles Office of Wage COVID-19 Resources

City Los Angeles Supplement Paid Sick Leave Rules and Regulations

City of Los Angeles Paid Sick Leave Website

City of Los Angeles COVID-19 Orders

Los Angeles County Approves Supplemental Paid Sick Leave for Large Employers

Effective April 29, 2020, businesses located in Los Angeles County, and with 500 or more employees, must provide paid sick leave until December 31, 2020. This rule covers employees on April 28, 2020, who conduct any work or services within the unincorporated parts of the county. Employees are entitled to supplemental paid sick leave retroactive to March 31, 2020, if one of the qualifying COVID-19 reasons are met.

Employees that work 40 hours/week or are classified as full-time employees receive 80 hours of leave, and their pay rate is based on the employees’ highest average of two-week pay during the period between January 1, 2020 and April 28, 2020.

Part-time employees that work less than 40 hours should receive an amount of leave that is no greater than their average of two-week pay during the period between January 1, 2020 and April 28, 2020.

Employers can’t require that employees use other paid or unpaid leave or vacation time, instead of supplemental paid sick leave (SPSL).

Reasons for using supplemental sick leave include if the employee:

  • Has been asked to quarantine by a public health official or government order,
  • Is a member of a high-risk population,
  • Must care for a family member that has been instructed to quarantine by a public health official, or
  • Must care for a family member whose day care provider has closed.

Recordkeeping and Documentation: Employers may require a doctor’s note or other documentation to support the reason for SPSL. Employers must provide SPSL when employees make their written requests.

Rate of Pay: Employers should use an employee’s average rate when calculating pay rates for SPSL. The rule does impose a daily limit of $511 and overall amount of $5,110.

Note that there are exemptions from this rule like for food sector workers who qualify for a different state rule enacted by Governor Newsom, health care providers and emergency responders.

Additional Resources

Los Angeles Paid Sick Leave and COVID-19 Guidance (June 11, 2020)

Public Order Under City of Los Angeles Emergency Authority Issue Date: April 7, 2020 (Updated May 19, 2020)

Los Angeles Rules & Regulations Implementing The Public Order On Supplemental Paid Sick Leave Due to COVID 19 (May 26, 2020)

Los Angeles County Paid Sick Leave Ordinance

Los Angeles County Paid Sick Leave Interim Guidance

Oakland Passes Emergency Paid Sick Leave for Employees

Update 9/21/20: New resources added including Protecting Workers and Communities During a Pandemic: COVID-19 Eermgency Paid Sick Leave Ordinance (English and Spanish) and Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Oakland’s Protecting Workers and Communities During a Pandemic – COVID-19 Emergency Paid Sick Leave Ordinance

Effective May 12, 2020, Oakland employers must provide paid sick leave to employees who have COVID-19-related reasons:

  • Mainly this rule is intended to support employers with 500 or more employees who aren’t covered by the FFCRA.
  • Employers who qualify for leave under the FFCRA are still subject to this law but may credit their total FFCRA paid sick leave hours against their obligation under this ordinance.
  • Employers with less than 50 employees are exempt from this rule.

Emergency sick leave is calculated by the hours worked within Oakland’s city limits between February 3, 2020, and March 4, 2020:

  • Employees who worked at least 40 hours between February 3, 2020 and March 4, 2020 or are considered full-time employees, are eligible for 80 hours of emergency paid sick leave.
  • Employees who have worked less than 40 hours during the same time period are eligible for leave that is based on the number of hours they worked during a 14-day period between February 3, 2020 and March 4, 2020. The 14 days must be the 14 days with the highest number of hours worked within the City of Oakland during the period of February 3, 2020 through March 4, 2020.

Reasons for using supplemental sick leave include if the employee:

  • Is exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 and is seeking diagnosis, or another similar condition as directed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services,
  • Has been asked to quarantine by a public health official or government order,
  • Is a member of a high-risk population,
  • Must care for a family member that has been instructed to quarantine by a public health official
  • Must care for a family member whose day care provider has closed, or
  • If the employee is unable to telework or work because they are at high-risk or they are caring for a family member who tested positive for COVID-19 or because they have COVID-19.

Documentation: An employer can’t require doctor’s notes or other documentation unless it’s to verify the condition that makes the employee part of a high-risk population. In this case, the employee doesn’t need to disclose the condition, just that they are at high-risk.

Employees can use intermittent leave in one-hour increments; employers can’t require employees to use the leave in greater than 1-hour increments.

Rate of Pay: Depending on the qualifying reasons for the leave, employers, including those covered by the FFCRA, must pay their employees at 100% of the employee’s normal wages, capped at $511/day and a total cap of $5,110, or two-thirds of the employee’s regular rate of pay, capped at $200 per day and $2,000 overall. Further details can be found on the FFCRA poster.

Note that there are exemptions from this rule like emergency responders, health care providers, and employers who provide more than 160 hours of paid personal leave already (there are additional requirements for these types of employers). Additionally, a collective bargaining agreement may supersede this rule and legal counsel should be consulted.

Posting Notices: Employers must provide a notice to employees within 3 days of the city releasing the official notice. The notice must be provided to employees in each language spoken by more than 10% of the employer’s workforce.

Expiration: December 31, 2020.

Additional Resources

Emergency Paid Sick Leave for Oakland Employees During COVID-19 Pandemic Ordinance

COVID-19 (Coronavirus Disease) and Oakland’s Sick Leave Law Guide

Oakland Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) Business and Worker Resources

Long Beach Supplemental Paid Sick Leave Ordinance

Effective May 19, 2020, Long Beach passed Paid Supplemental Sick Leave emergency ordinance. The emergency order applies to private employers with more than 500 employees nationwide and covers and covers employees that work within the city limits of Long Beach.

Reasons for using emergency paid sick leave include if the employee:

  • Has been asked to quarantine by a public health official or government order;
  • Is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and is seeking a medical diagnosis;
  • Must care for a family member that has been instructed to quarantine by a public health official or government order; or
  • Must care for a family member whose day care provider has closed.

Employers may require a reason for the paid sick leave being used but can’t require a doctor’s note or other official documentation for using the leave.

Calculation: Full-time employees are entitled to 80 hours of paid sick leave. Part-time employees are eligible for paid sick leave hours that equal the average number of hours they work in a two-week period.

Pay Rate: Employers can pay employees for paid leave at their regular rate of pay, not to exceed $511/day or $5,110 overall. Employers may pay employees, who are using paid sick leave to care for another individual, two-thirds their regular pay rate, not to exceed $200/day or a total of $2,000.

Exemptions exist for employees who can work from home and are healthy in addition to health care providers, government agencies, the employer already provides a general leave of 160 hours or more of paid leave per year, or if a collective bargaining agreement already provides for COVID-19 sick leave. Future collective bargaining agreements can waive the PSSL if employees acknowledge their PSSL and waive their rights to the leave.

Additional Resources

Long Beach Ordinance No. 20-042

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