The city of Santa Rosa California has approved an ordinance that temporarily expands emergency paid sick leave for employees within city limits. The ordinance is effective immediately and expires on December 31, 2020.
The federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) requires employers with fewer than 500 employees to provide emergency paid sick leave to employees who are unable to work (or telework) because of the following reasons:
- The employee is subject to a federal, state, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19 or is caring for an individual who is subject to such an order.
- The employee has been advised by a healthcare provider to self-quarantine or is caring for an individual who has been advised to self-quarantine.
- The employee is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and seeking a medical diagnosis.
- The employee is caring for their son or daughter due to their school or place of care being closed, or their childcare provider is unavailable, due to COVID-19 precautions.
- The employee is experiencing any other substantially similar condition specified by the Secretary of Health and Human Services in consultation with the Secretary of the Treasury and the Secretary of Labor.
Employers must provide full-time employees (those normally schedule to work at least 40 hours) with 80 hours of emergency paid sick leave. Part-time employees are entitled to paid sick leave amounting to the average number of hours they work over a two-week period.
During the emergency paid sick leave, the employer must generally pay employees their regular rate of pay (as defined by the Fair Labor Standards Act) or the applicable minimum wage, whichever is higher, up to a maximum of $511 per day (and a total of $5,110). However, leave to care for an individual on quarantine/isolation/self-quarantine or to care for a child whose school or daycare is closed or whose childcare provider is unavailable may be compensated at 2/3 of the employee's regular rate of pay (or the applicable minimum wage if higher), up to a maximum of $200 per day (and a total of $2,000).
Under the federal law, employers of healthcare providers and emergency responders may exclude these employees from emergency paid sick leave.
SANTA ROSA ORDINANCE:
The city's ordinance covers employees who:
- Have worked at least two hours in Santa Rosa.
- Perform "allowed or essential work," which means work activities and services permitted in Sonoma County Public Health Officer orders.
The Santa Rosa ordinance augments the FFCRA in the following ways:
- Includes employees of businesses with 500 or more employees.
- Requires employers of healthcare providers and emergency responders to provide emergency paid sick leave to these employees.
- Mandates that all types of covered leave be compensated at the employee's regular rate of pay (as defined by the Fair Labor Standards Act) or the applicable minimum wage ($15 per hour), whichever is higher, up to a maximum of $511 per day (and a total of $5,110).
Under the federal law, employers with fewer than 50 employees may qualify for exemption from the requirement to provide leave due to school closings or child care unavailability if it would jeopardize the viability of the business as a going concern. Santa Rosa's ordinance doesn't apply to any employer that qualifies for this exemption.
Santa Rose employers should review the ordinance in full and ensure compliance. The city has provided additional guidance here. Please contact your dedicated service professional with any questions.