San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo has signed a paid sick leave ordinance, impacting employers who aren’t required to comply with the federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). The ordinance took effect on April 7, 2020.
As we previously reported, the FFCRA requires employers with fewer than 500 employees to provide up to 80 hours of paid sick leave to employees for certain absences related to COVID-19 (coronavirus). San Jose’s ordinance requires employers who aren’t covered by the FFCRA to provide up to 80 hours of paid sick leave to their employees, if eligible. This means that employers with 500 or more employees are covered by the ordinance. In addition, employers with fewer than 50 employees are also covered if they chose to take advantage of the U.S. Department of Labor’s regulations that allow them to deny leave under the FFCRA to care for the employee’s child whose school or place of care has closed or is unavailable due to COVID-19 if doing so would jeopardize the viability of the business as a going concern. Bottom line: If you’re exempt from the FFCRA, you’re covered by the San Jose ordinance.
Employees are eligible to receive paid sick leave under the ordinance if: (1) they’ve worked for the employer for at least two hours within the geographic boundary of the city; (2) they’re not performing work at home; and (3) they’re leaving home to perform essential work (as defined by the Santa Clara County Public Health Officer on March 16, 2020). Leave is available when the employee is: (1) subject to a quarantine or isolation order due to COVID-19, or is caring for someone who’s quarantined or isolated due to COVID-19; (2) advised by a healthcare provider to self-quarantine due to COVID-19, or caring for someone who has been advised to self-quarantine by a healthcare provider; (3) experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and is seeking a medical diagnosis; or (4) caring for a minor child because the child’s school or daycare is closed due to COVID-19. Provisions for the amount and structure of sick leave pay are the same as under the FFCRA.
Tips For Employers: If you have employees working within the city limits of San Jose, and aren’t otherwise subject to the FFCRA, review this new ordinance to understand your obligation to provide paid sick leave for COVID-19 related absences. Visit the city’s web page on its COVID-19 paid sick leave ordinance for details and call your Vigilant Law Group employment attorney with any questions.