Bay AreaThe cities of San Jose and San Francisco have enacted emergency sick leave ordinances for covered employers that are not required to provide paid sick leave benefits under the Federal FFCRA.

The following are where the two cities are similar:

  • Employers over 500 employees are eligible
  • Employees can use up to 80 hours of COVID-19 related sick leave
  • Employers do not need to allow use if employees are able to work or telework
  • There is no tax relief for employers
  • Qualified employers are required to post notices
  • Unused paid sick leave under this ordinance will not be paid out upon expiration

The following are the differences in the two cities:

San Jose: Effective date is 4/8/20 and expires on 12/31/20

  • Eligibility is if an employee worked two hours within city limits to perform essential work
  • Exception is the construction industry
  • Covers healthcare workers with employers under 500 that are not covered under FFCRA. San Jose employees can use the paid sick leave for the following reasons:
  1. An employee is subject to quarantine or isolation by federal, state or local order due to COVID-19, or is caring for someone who is quarantined or isolated due to COVID-19;
  2. An employee is advised by a healthcare provider to self-quarantine due to COVID-19 or is caring for someone who is so advised by a health-care provider;
  3. An employee experiences symptoms of COVID-19 and is seeking medical diagnosis; and/or;
  4. An employee is caring for a minor child because a school or daycare is closed due to COVID-19.

Employees’ sick leave is paid at 100% of the employee’s regular rate up to a maximum of $511/day and if used to care for a family member, they are paid two-thirds of their regular rate at a maximum of $200/day (same as current FFCRA). Employers who provide accrued paid leave at 80 hours or above per year are not required to supplement with the new ordinance. If they provide less than 80 hours per year, they need to make up the difference to reach 80 hours.

San Francisco: Effective date is 4/17/20 and expires 6/17/20

  • Eligibility is 56 hours of work performed in the calendar year as of 2/25/20. For employees hired after 2/25/20, they are eligible for an average of hours worked over a two-week period from date of hire and the date in which the leave is taken.
  • Employers may elect to limit an employee’s use of sick leave for healthcare workers and emergency responders
  • There are no caps/maximums. Employees are paid at 100% of their regular rate of pay.
  • Employers are required to provide the 80 hours in addition to any accrued time off already provided.
  • Employees can use the paid sick leave for the following reasons:
  1. The employee is subject to an individual or general federal, state or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19, including but not limited to Governor Gavin Newsom’s Executive Order, local Bay Area shelter-in-place orders, and government orders recommending or requiring additional restrictions for vulnerable or high-risk populations. Vulnerable populations include people who are 60 years old and older; people with certain health conditions such as heart disease, lung disease, diabetes, kidney disease, and weakened immune systems; people who are pregnant or were pregnant in the last two weeks;
  2. The employee has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine;
  3. The employee is experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19 and seeking a medical diagnosis;
  4. The employee is caring for a family member who is subject to an order as described in (1) above, and has been advised as described in (2) above, or is experiencing symptoms as described in (3) above. “Family member” has the same definition as under the San Francisco Paid Sick Leave Ordinance, and means a child, parent, legal guardian or ward, sibling, grandparent, grandchild, spouse, registered domestic partner, or designated person;
  5. The employee is caring for a family member if the school or place of care of the family member has been closed, or the care provider of such family member is unavailable, due to the public health emergency;
  6. The employee is experiencing any other substantially similar condition specified by the Local Health Officer, or under Section 5102(a)(6) of the Federal FFCRA by the United States Secretary of Health and Human Services.
  • If an employer voluntarily provided additional paid sick leave benefits prior to 4/17/20 related to COVID-19, those hours may count toward the 80 hours.
  • Employers may not require employees to take leave in increments of more than one hour.
  • The required notice must be in English, Spanish, Chinese and any language spoken by at least 5% of the employees.
  • Employees that work for businesses that have temporarily closed or suspended operations are eligible.
  • Each payday, employers are to provide a written statement that sets forth the amount of leave available.
  • Records of work schedules, hours worked and leave taken must be maintained for four years.
  • Doctor’s note or school closure notices cannot be requested.

Note: The City of Oakland has not introduced an ordinance but is actively being developed.