Joining other counties and cities in California, the City of Oakland voted to extend its Emergency Paid Sick Leave ordinance into 2021. The amended ordinance applies retroactively to December 31, 2020, and will remain in effect until the City’s Declaration of COVID-19 Emergency expires.

The amended ordinance applies to all employers that have employees working in the City of Oakland, with the exception of certain smaller employers that are exempt from the ordinance’s requirements.

No Additional Time

Like the original ordinance, the amended ordinance provides full-time employees with 80 hours of Emergency Paid Sick leave (part-time employees receive a pro-rata amount). However, the amended ordinance states that employers are only required to provide Emergency Paid Sick leave on a one-time basis.  In other words, if an employer already provided an employee with all of the Emergency Paid Sick leave available under the original ordinance, it does not have to provide that employee with additional leave under the amended ordinance. In addition, an employer may credit any Emergency Paid Sick Leave hours provided to an employee prior to January 1, 2021, to its obligation to provide leave under the amended ordinance.

Off-Set Available

Employers may credit paid sick leave previously provided to employees under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) or the state-wide COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave law against the obligation to provide leave under the amended ordinance.

Reasons for Leave

The amended ordinance does not change the reasons for which Emergency Paid Sick leave may be taken. Employers must provide leave to employees who are unable to work due to the following reasons:

  • The employee is subject to a federal, state, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19;
  • The employee has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID-19;
  • The employee is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and is seeking a medical diagnosis;
  • The employee is caring for an individual who is subject to an isolation or quarantine order, or has been advised to self-quarantine;
  • The employee is caring for their child because the child’s school or place of care is closed or 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; or
  • The employee is caring for a family member who has been diagnosed with COVID-19 or experiencing symptoms of COVID-19.

The ordinance also provides paid leave for employees who:

  • Are at least 65 years old;
  • Have a health condition such as heart disease, asthma, lung disease, diabetes, kidney disease, or a weakened immune system;
  • Have a condition identified by an Alameda County, California, or federal public health official as putting the public at heightened risk of serious illness or death if exposed to COVID-19, or
  • Have any condition certified by a healthcare professional as putting the employee at heightened risk of serious illness or death if exposed to COVID-19.

The County of Los Angeles will be considering its own extension on January 26, 2021, which will include an expansion to those employees previously covered by the FFCRA.

Jackson Lewis continues to monitor local, state, and federal legislation pertaining to COVID-19. If you have questions about supplemental paid sick leave or other employment concerns related to COVID-19, contact a Jackson Lewis attorney to discuss.