Effective October 1, 2020, covered employers in unincorporated Sacramento County must provide paid sick leave to eligible workers for qualifying, COVID-19-related reasons, and all employers in unincorporated Sacramento County must implement specific COVID-19-related safety protocols and practices in their facilities. Under the Sacramento County Worker Protection, Health and Safety Act of 2020, covered employers must grant workers up to 80 hours (fewer for part-time workers) of Supplemental Paid Sick Leave (SPSL) for qualifying, COVID-19 related reasons, in addition to the sick leave or vacation time employers already provide under their current policies. In addition, all employers must implement certain safety practices, many of which employers probably already have in place. This ordinance is meant to cover employers who were exempt from the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) – namely those with 500 or more workers, or who were otherwise exempted from the FFCRA. The ordinance does contain a “health care provider” exemption similar to the one in the FFCRA. This ordinance is different and separate from the ordinance passed by the City of Sacramento, on which we previously reported, and applies only to covered employers in unincorporated Sacramento County. The ordinance expires on December 31, 2020.
The qualifying reasons for SPSL in this ordinance partially overlap with the reasons for leave in California’s AB 1867 and Governor Newsom’s Executive Order N-51-20, on which we previously reported, but it also adds new reasons for covered employers in unincorporated Sacramento County. Notably, this ordinance allows eligible employees to take leave to care for family members for certain COVID-19-related reasons, and also allows workers who are “over the age of 65 or…considered vulnerable due to a compromised immune system” to choose to take SPSL. Employers must only pay workers at 2/3 their regular rate if taking SPSL to care for family members, but must pay the regular rate for other leave reasons. Employers may request that workers provide a “general basis” for requesting SPSL, but doesn’t explicitly allow employers to request any documentation, and prohibits employers from requiring a doctor’s note. Employers may offset an employee’s SPSL hours under this ordinance with hours already taken under AB 1867 or Executive Order N-51-20 (i.e., if an employee already took 80 hours of SPSL under AB 1867, the employee does not get to take an additional 80 hours under this ordinance).
Tips: This ordinance adds to the growing list of local ordinances meant to fill some of the gaps left by federal and statewide paid sick leave laws. Although it overlaps and interacts with some of those laws, it has some of its own specific requirements. If you’re an employer in unincorporated Sacramento County, read the ordinance carefully, and contact your Vigilant Law Group employment attorney with any questions. If you have questions about the ordinance’s safety provisions, contact your Vigilant safety professional.