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Posted April 10th, 2020 in Top Stories, Legal Insights with Tags , ,

COVID-19 for Employers: Local Paid Sick Leave Laws

During the week of April 6, 2020, several cities expanded paid sick leave entitlements during the COVID-19 crisis. We outline a few of these below.

Los Angeles, CA

Emergency Supplemental Paid Sick Leave Ordinance

Full-Time Employees

Similar to the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), employers must provide 80 hours of paid sick leave to full-time employees.

Part-Time Employees

The amount of leave is calculated based on the employee’s average two-week pay between February 3, 2020, and March 4, 2020.

All Employees

The payout is capped similarly to the FFCRA law.


  • Qualifying emergency and health service personnel
  • Critical parcel delivery employees
  • Employees who already receive 160 hours of paid leave annually
  • Certain new businesses
  • Closed businesses (those not operating for 14 days, or that have stopped operating and provided at least 14 days of leave)

Qualifying employees may take leave for the following reasons:

  • Due to COVID-19 infection or because a public health official/healthcare provider recommends that employee isolate or self-quarantine to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
  • The employee is at least 65 years old or has a serious health condition (the Ordinance provides detail on specific conditions).
  • The employee needs to care for a family member who is not sick but who public health officials/healthcare providers have recommended or required isolation or self-quarantine.
  • The employee must care for a family member whose senior care or childcare provider temporarily ceases operation. This applies only to an employee who is unable to secure a reasonable alternative caregiver.

San Jose, CA

Emergency Paid Sick Leave Ordinance

Full-Time Employees

Employers must provide 80 hours of paid sick leave to full-time employees who work at least two hours within city limits, and who must leave their home to provide essential work, as defined by the Santa Clara County shelter-in-place order.

Part-Time Employees

Modeled after the FFCRA, qualifying part-time employees receive a prorated amount.

All Employees

The Order does not apply to those employees who can work remotely or who already received an amount of paid leave required under the Ordinance. The payout is capped similarly to the FFCRA law.

Qualifying employees may take leave for the following reasons:

  • The employee is subject to a quarantine/isolation order or has been advised by a healthcare provider to self-quarantine, or is caring for such a person
  • The employee experiences symptoms of COVID-19 and is seeking a diagnosis
  • The employee is caring for a minor child due to the closure of a school or childcare provider

San Francisco, CA

Public Health Emergency Leave

The City of San Francisco Board of Supervisors on April 7, 2020, passed an expanded paid sick leave package similar to the FFCRA but intended to apply to employers with more than 500 employees. This “Public Health Emergency Leave” will become effective upon the mayor’s signature and will stay in effect for 61 days unless extended.

All Employees

Employers must provide up to 80 hours of paid leave to eligible employees, with limited ability to offset this amount against other forms of paid leave made available to employees. Importantly, the leave must be available to employees “regardless of whether or when the employee is scheduled to work,” suggesting that it applies to employees who are furloughed.

Qualifying employees may take leave for the following reasons:

  • Similar to the FFCRA
  • But San Francisco added coverage for employees who are members of a “vulnerable population” who may be considered high-risk for exposure to COVID-19 according to public health authorities, such as
    • Those above the age of 60
    • Those experiencing underlying health conditions
    • Pregnant employees

Seattle, WA

Emergency Order

Pursuant to an emergency order dated April 8, 2020, employers may no longer request verification for use of sick leave from an employee’s healthcare provider until June 7, 2020.

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