On January 19, 2021, Oakland’s City Council approved an emergency ordinance extending the city’s emergency paid sick leave (EPSL) ordinance through the duration of Oakland’s March 9, 2020, Declaration of COVID-19 Emergency. Passed on an emergency basis, the revised ordinance takes effect immediately, retroactive to December 31, 2020.
Substantively, the amended EPSL ordinance largely remains the same as the original ordinance that took effect on May 12, 2020, and no additional time is added to employees’ leave banks.
Nothing has changed in terms of which employers are covered by the ordinance. The EPSL ordinance still applies to any business who has an employee who performed at least two hours of work within the geographic boundaries of Oakland (including the Port of Oakland) after February 3, 2020.
Unlike many other local COVID-19-related sick leave ordinances, which only covered employers with 500 or more employees (because they were excluded from the federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA)), Oakland’s EPSL ordinance has always covered employers of all sizes. However, employers covered by the FFCRA are able to credit the total sick leave hours provided under the FFCRA against their sick leave hours obligation under the ordinance.
Small employers who employed fewer than 50 employees between February 3, 2020, through March 4, 2020, are still exempt from the ordinance, except for unregistered janitorial employers of franchisees associated with a franchisor or network of franchises where that franchisor or network employs more than 500 employees total.
Amount of Sick Leave
Employees who were employed prior to the December 31, 2020, expiration of the original ordinance had their leave banks calculated according to whether they were classified as full time or part time.
For employees whose leave banks are calculated under the revised EPSL ordinance, the calculations are as follows:
An employer may credit the total number of EPSL hours provided prior to January 1, 2021, under the original ordinance, against their EPSL obligations under the revised ordinance. In other words, the revised ordinance doesn’t provide eligible employees any additional time; however, employees are able to access any unused EPSL hours they received in 2020 throughout the duration of the ordinance.
Qualifying Reasons for Use
The qualifying reasons remain the same as in the original ordinance, and allow an employee EPSL use who is unable to work or telework due to any of the following reasons:
Rate of Pay
Employers must pay their employees at 100 percent of the employee’s normal hourly wages of any qualifying reason, subject to a $511 daily cap or $5,110 total cap.
Under the revised EPSL ordinance, employers may credit the total sick leave hours provided under the FFCRA or under California’s Supplemental COVID-19 Sick Leave (AB 1867).
The revised ordinance’s provisions regarding payout of accrued and unused EPSL upon layoff, exemptions, enforcement and posting requirements remains the same as in the original ordinance.
Employers should determine how much EPSL remains available to their employees going forward in 2021. For new hires, employers will need to apply the new calculation provided for in the revised ordinance.
Employers should also monitor Oakland’s website for any updated Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) that may be released to provide additional guidance on the revised EPSL ordinance.
Bianca Saad, Employment Law Counsel/Subject Matter Expert, CalChamber
CalChamber members can read more about COVID-19: Oakland Emergency Paid Sick Leave on HRCalifornia. Not a member? See how CalChamber can help you.
The post Oakland Extends Emergency COVID-19-Related Paid Sick Leave Ordinance appeared first on HRWatchdog by Bianca Saad.