California’s supplemental paid COVID-19 sick leave (covered here) expired on December 31, 2020. The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) also expired on December 31, 2020. Nevertheless, many local jurisdictions have extended emergency paid sick leave to employees affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. An employee may be entitled to use the leave for a variety of reasons—from being subject to quarantine to experiencing symptoms to caring for another. The local emergency paid sick leave ordinances generally have a pay limitation similar to the FFCRA, capping paid supplemental sick leave at $511 per day and $5,110 in the aggregate.

Some of these local laws have been expanded in scope to cover a larger group of employees. Without a statewide emergency paid sick leave law in effect, employers currently must navigate regional disparity. Below is a current snapshot of the evolving legislative landscape at the local level.

City of Long Beach emergency paid sick leave ordinance

  • In effect: From summer 2020 and does not have an expiration date. Rather, every 90 days, a report to the City Council and Mayor determines whether the ordinance is still necessary.
  • Eligible employees: A full-time employee is entitled to 80 hours of paid supplemental sick leave and a part-time employee is entitled to paid supplemental sick leave hours equal to the number of hours they work on average over a 2-week period.
  • Employers covered: The ordinance applies to employers with 500 or more employees nationally that were not required to provide paid supplemental sick leave under the federal FFCRA.

County of Los Angeles emergency paid sick leave ordinance

  • In effect: From January 1, 2021 to “until two calendar weeks after the expiration of the COVID-19 local emergency as ratified and declared by the Board of Supervisors.” The new ordinance revises the previous ordinance that expired on December 31, 2020.
  • Eligible employees: A full-time employee is entitled to 80 hours of paid supplemental sick leave and a part-time employee is entitled to paid supplemental sick leave hours equal to the number of hours they work on average over a 2-week period.
  • Employers covered: The previous ordinance affected only employers who were not already subject to the FFCRA. Given the expiration of the FFCRA, the County expanded the new ordinance to cover all employers in the unincorporated areas of the county.

City of Los Angeles emergency supplemental paid sick leave ordinance

  • In effect: Revised on February 10, 2021, and similar to the previous ordinance, “until two calendar weeks after the expiration of the COVID-19 local emergency period.”
  • Eligible employees: Unlike the previous ordinance that only provided paid supplemental sick leave to employees employed from February 3, 2020 through March 4, 2020, the new ordinance covers employees who have been employed with the same employer for 60 days and are unable to work or telework. The paid supplemental sick leave is calculated based on an employee’s average 2-week pay over the last 60 days of employment.
  • Employers covered: The ordinance applies to an employer that has either: (i) 500 or more employees within the City of Los Angeles; or (ii) 2,000 or more employees within the United States.

City of Oakland emergency paid sick leave ordinance 

  • In effect: On January 19, 2021, the Oakland City Council retroactively extended the ordinance which had expired on December 31, 2020. The new ordinance extended the ordinance’s sunset until the end date of Oakland’s COVID-19 emergency declaration.
  • Eligible employees: A full-time employee working between February 3, 2020 through March 4, 2020 or at any point thereafter is entitled to 80 hours of paid supplemental sick leave. A part-time employee working between February 3, 2020 through March 4, 2020 and who continues to do so after March 4, 2020 is entitled to paid supplemental sick leave hours equal to the number of hours they work on average over 2 weeks during the period of February 3, 2020 through March 4, 2020. The 14 days must be the 14 days with the highest number of hours worked within the City of Oakland during the period of February 3, 2020 through March 4, 2020.
  • Employers covered: The ordinance applies to employers with 50 or more employees, but exceptions exist for franchisees and certain janitorial employers.

City of Sacramento emergency paid sick leave ordinance extended

  • In effect: The City Council extended the expiration from December 31, 2020 to March 31, 2021.
  • Eligible employees: A full-time employee is entitled to 80 hours of paid supplemental sick leave and a part-time employee is entitled to paid supplemental sick leave hours equal to the number of hours they work on average over a 2-week period during the last 6 months.
  • Employers covered: The ordinance applies to employers with 500 or more employees nationally that were not required to provide paid supplemental sick leave under the federal FFCRA.

San Francisco County and City emergency paid sick leave ordinance 

  • In effect: As of February 19, 2021, the Board of Supervisors has reauthorized this emergency ordinance through April 12. The ordinance took effect on April 17, 2020 and it will expire on April 12, 2021 unless reenacted by the Board of Supervisors, or upon the termination of the Public Health Emergency, whichever occurs first.
  • Eligible employees: Leave is available regardless of 1) how long the employee has been employed by the employer; 2) the employee’s status as full-time, part-time, permanent, temporary, seasonal, salaried, paid by commission, or any other status; or 3) any other consideration pertaining to the employee.
  • Employers covered: Employers with 500 or more employees worldwide must comply with the ordinance for their covered San Francisco employees. Going forward, the ordinance will not apply to non-profit organizations if the majority of their annual revenue “is program service revenue that is not unrelated business taxable income under [federal law] and they do not engage in Healthcare Operations.”

City of San Jose emergency paid sick leave ordinance

  • In effect: The ordinance was retroactively extended to be effective January 1, 2021 and sunsets on June 30, 2021.
  • Eligible employees: A full-time employee is entitled to 80 hours of paid supplemental sick leave and a part-time employee generally is entitled to paid supplemental sick leave hours equal to the number of hours they work on average over a 2-week period.
  • Employers covered: The new ordinance was expanded to cover all employers subject to the city’s minimum wage ordinance.

San Mateo County emergency paid sick leave ordinance 

  • In effect: The ordinance has been extended to May 1, 2021.
  • Eligible employees: Each County employee will receive 2 weeks worth of COVID-19 Emergency Sick Leave, not to exceed a total of 80 hours. Part-time employees will receive a pro-rated amount based on average hours worked.
  • Employers covered: The ordinance applies to employers with 500 or more employees.

City of Santa Rosa new local urgency ordinance

  • In effect: On February 2, 2021, the City of Santa Rosa passed a new local urgency ordinance temporarily reinstating employer provided COVID-19 related paid sick leave for employees within Santa Rosa city limits. This ordinance is effective from February 2 – March 31, 2021
  • Eligible employees: A full-time employee is entitled to 80 hours of paid supplemental sick leave and a part-time employee is entitled to paid supplemental sick leave hours equal to the number of hours they work on average over a 2-week period.
  • Employers covered: The ordinance is applicable to all businesses within Santa Rosa city limits, regardless of size or sector.

Sonoma County emergency paid sick leave ordinance

  • In effect: On February 9, 2021, the Sonoma County’s Board of Supervisors extended paid leave benefits through June 30, 2021.
  • Eligible employees: An employee who has worked a minimum of 2 hours for an employer has accrued supplemental paid sick leave hours. A full-time employee is entitled to 80 hours of paid supplemental sick leave and a part-time employee is entitled to paid supplemental sick leave hours equal to the number of hours they work on average over a 2-week period, calculated over the prior 6 months.
  • Employers covered: The new ordinance affects all employers within the unincorporated areas of the County, regardless of size. Further, it requires employers to post notices in the workplace and/or via email written in both English and Spanish that explain the benefits available to employees. The new ordinance also permits employers to deny leave requests in whole or in part based upon a good faith determination that the leave would create a staffing shortfall interfering with the employer’s operational needs.

In light of the continuing extension and expansion of emergency paid sick leave ordinances, which come with the potential of penalties for non-compliance, California employers should consult with employment counsel and ensure their COVID-19-related leave policies comply with local COVID-19 emergency paid sick leave ordinances. Whether there will be renewed federal or statewide legislation in this area remains to be seen.

Photo of Tony Oncidi Tony Oncidi

Anthony J. Oncidi heads the Labor & Employment Law Group in the Los Angeles office.

Tony represents employers and management in all aspects of labor relations and employment law, including litigation and preventive counseling, wage and hour matters, including class actions, wrongful termination…

Anthony J. Oncidi heads the Labor & Employment Law Group in the Los Angeles office.

Tony represents employers and management in all aspects of labor relations and employment law, including litigation and preventive counseling, wage and hour matters, including class actions, wrongful termination, employee discipline, Title VII and the California Fair Employment and Housing Act, executive employment contract disputes, sexual harassment training and investigations, workplace violence, drug testing and privacy issues, Sarbanes-Oxley claims and employee raiding and trade secret protection. A substantial portion of Tony’s practice involves the defense of employers in large class actions, employment discrimination, harassment and wrongful termination litigation in state and federal court as well as arbitration proceedings, including FINRA matters.

Photo of Michelle Lappen Michelle Lappen

Michelle Lappen is an associate in the Labor & Employment Department and a member of the Employment Litigation & Arbitration Group. She assists clients in a wide range of labor and employment matters in a variety of industries, including entertainment, financial services, and…

Michelle Lappen is an associate in the Labor & Employment Department and a member of the Employment Litigation & Arbitration Group. She assists clients in a wide range of labor and employment matters in a variety of industries, including entertainment, financial services, and technology.

Michelle earned her J.D. from Columbia Law School, where she was an articles and submissions editor for the Columbia Journal of Law & the Arts. During law school, she also was a teaching fellow for the Advanced Negotiation Workshop and advocated for state and federal legislation as a clinical student in the Columbia Law Health Justice Advocacy Clinic.