On August 18, 2020, Sonoma County was added to the list of California localities to enact supplemental emergency paid sick leave (EPSL) related to COVID-19. The urgency ordinance took effect immediately and is set to expire on December 31, 2020 (unless extended), expanding EPSL to employees working in the unincorporated areas of Sonoma County who aren’t already covered by the federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA).
To be eligible, employees must have worked for the employer for at least 2 hours within unincorporated Sonoma County. The ordinance requires employers to grant covered employees up to 80 hours of supplemental EPSL, paid at the employee’s regular rate of pay, subject to a cap of $511 per day and $5,110 in total, regardless of the reason for leave. Covered employees may use this supplemental EPSL upon written request if the employee is unable to work or telework for any of the reasons listed in the ordinance, which mostly follow those of the federal EPSL with the noteworthy addition of providing care for an individual whose senior care provider is closed or unavailable in response to a public health official’s recommendation.
Employers may satisfy the obligation to provide supplemental EPSL under this ordinance to the extent an employee has accrued at least 80 hours of paid sick leave benefits as of August 18, 2020, or at least 160 hours of combined paid sick leave, vacation, or other paid time off benefits. If, as of August 18, 2020, accrued paid sick leave benefits are less than 80 hours or combined accrued leave benefits are less than 160 hours, the employer must provide supplemental EPSL to the extent of deficiency.
Tips: The ordinance contains additional provisions not discussed in this article. If your employees perform work within the unincorporated areas of Sonoma County, review the ordinance carefully to ensure compliance with all requirements. For assistance, contact your Vigilant Law Group employment attorney.