The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors has enacted an urgency ordinance extending the county’s COVID-19 (coronavirus) emergency paid sick leave ordinance (EPSL) through September 30, 2021, and expanding several areas of EPSL protection. As we previously reported, the original Sonoma County EPSL expired on December 31, 2020, but was extended through June 30, 2021 (see our article about the extension here). The newest amendments expand the list of qualifying reasons to take EPSL, which now includes time off to receive the COVID-19 vaccine and time off due to illness caused by the vaccine (if the employee cannot work or telework).
Full-time employees normally scheduled to work 40 or more hours per week have up to 80 hours of EPSL to use from January 1, 2021 through September 30, 2021 (pro-rated for part-time employees). Leave provided under California’s 2021 COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave (SPSL), Cal/OSHA COVID-19 exclusion pay, or other similar paid leave voluntarily provided to employees to receive federal tax credits under the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) may be credited against the EPSL obligations required by this ordinance. Additionally, an employer’s obligation to provide EPSL under the ordinance is considered satisfied if the employee has at least 80 hours of accrued paid sick leave available as of June 8, 2021 or at least 160 hours of paid sick leave, vacation, and PTO benefits combined. If the paid sick leave or accrued paid leave benefits are less, the employer is required to provide EPSL to the extent of such deficiency.
Tips: Employers with 26 or more employees who are subject to California’s 2021 COVID-19 SPSL should already be meeting these requirements under the state’s rules. If you employ fewer than 26 employees though, of which any perform work within the unincorporated areas of Sonoma County, you should carefully review the ordinance to ensure compliance with all requirements. Questions? Contact your Vigilant Law Group employment attorney.