The city of San Jose (CA) has adopted an emergency ordinance that extends and expands a requirement for employers to provide paid sick leave to employees for reasons related to COVID-19. The ordinance is in effect through June 30, 2021.
On April 7, 2020, San Jose adopted an ordinance that required employers to provide paid sick leave to employees if they were exempt from the leave requirements under the federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). The FFCRA only applied to employers with fewer than 500 employees and included certain other exemptions. The city's ordinance was meant to address the gaps in the FFCRA and was set to expire on December 31, 2020.
New San Jose Emergency Ordinance:
Because the FFCRA's leave requirements expired on December 31, 2020, the city adopted a new emergency ordinance that: (1) extends the paid sick leave requirements through June 30, 2021; and (2) expands the ordinance to cover all employers that meet both of the following criteria:
- The employer is subject to the Business License Tax required by the city or maintains a facility within the boundaries of the city.
- The employer is lawfully allowed to conduct business activities under the County of Santa Clara, state or federal health orders.
The new ordinance took effect retroactively on January 1, 2021.
To be eligible for the leave under the ordinance, the employee must:
- Work at least two hours within the geographic boundaries of the city for a covered employer; and
- Leave their own residence to perform work for the employer and is unable to telecommute.
Amount of Leave:
Under the ordinance, a full-time employee is entitled to 80 hours of paid sick leave. A part-time employee is entitled to sick leave hours equal to the number of hours they work on average over a two-week period.
Note: The new ordinance didn't increase the total amount of paid sick leave that employers must provide, Therefore, under the ordinance, eligible employees are entitled to up to a total of 80 hours of paid sick leave for the entire period from April 2, 2020 through June 30, 2021.
An employee may use paid sick leave for any of the following purposes:
- The 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;
- The 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 healthcare provider;
- The employee experiences symptoms of COVID-19 and is seeking medical diagnosis; or
- The employee is caring for a minor child because a school or daycare is closed due to COVID-19.
The employee can take paid sick leave for one or more of the above qualifying reasons until the employee either: (1) uses the full amount of paid sick leave; or (2) no longer has a qualifying reason for taking paid sick leave.
Pay During Leave:
During the leave, the employee is entitled to be paid their regular rate of pay, up to $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 may be compensated at 2/3 of the employee's regular rate of pay, up to a maximum of $200 per day (and a total of $2,000).
The ordinance doesn't apply to any employer that provides its employees, on the effective date of the ordinance, with some combination of paid personal leave at least equivalent to the paid sick leave required by the ordinance.
San Jose employers must ensure compliance with the city's ordinance. Please contact your dedicated service professional with any questions.