Temporary Sick Leave Ordinance for COVID-19
On July 7, the City of Santa Rosa passed a local urgency ordinance temporarily expanding emergency paid sick leave for employees within Santa Rosa city limits.
This ordinance expands the federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), which authorizes employers to provide 80 hours (pro rated for part-time employees) of paid sick leave time for COVID-19 related reasons if the employee:
- Is subject to a Federal, State, or local quarantine or isolation order
- Has been advised to self-quarantine by a health care provider
- Is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and is seeking medical diagnosis
- Is caring for an individual subject to an order described in (1) or (2)
- Is caring for a child whose school or place of care is closed due to COVID-19
Under the Federal Act, employers with less than 500 employees are required to provide this leave, and healthcare and emergency responder employers have the option to provide the leave or not. In addition, FFCRA applies a two-tiered maximum compensation rate, with a higher cap for employees caring for themselves and a lower cap for employees using the sick leave to care for someone with COVID-19.
The City ordinance, which immediately went into effect, augments FFCRA locally in the following ways:
- Expands the Federal Act to include employees of businesses with 500 or more employees.
- Expands the Federal Act to require inclusion of employees of healthcare providers and emergency responders.
- Applies the highest compensation rate cap of the FFCRA for both caring for oneself and for someone else.
- Is effective July 7 through December 31, 2020 (Federal Act applies prior to July 7).
- City of Santa Rosa Temporary Paid Sick Leave Ordinance No. ORD-2020-006
- City of Santa Rosa Temporary Sick Leave Requirements Presentation, June 30, 2020
- US Department of Labor Families First Coronavirus Response Act: Employee Paid Leave Requirements
- US Department of Labor Families First Coronavirus Response Act: Questions & Answers
- IRS Overview for COVID-19 Related Tax Credits for Paid Sick and Paid Family Leave
Frequently Asked Questions
I operate businesses both within and outside of Santa Rosa city limits. Are all my business locations now subject to Santa Rosa’s ordinance?
Only those businesses operating within Santa Rosa city limits are subject to the ordinance. NOTE: If your business is under 500 employees, you’re still subject to the Federal Act for your non-Santa Rosa business locations/operations.
If your business is physically located outside of Santa Rosa city limits but you have staff who work within Santa Rosa at least 2 hours/week, the hours those employees work in Santa Rosa would be subject to the ordinance pro rata (for reference, this is similar to jurisdictional minimum wage orders).
If you have business locations within Santa Rosa city limits as well as outside of Santa Rosa’s jurisdiction, the Santa Rosa ordinance would apply only those employees working at your Santa Rosa business locations.
If my employee(s) can telework (work remotely), do they qualify for emergency paid sick leave?
Santa Rosa’s Emergency Paid Sick Leave ordinance remains consistent with the Federal Act – employees only qualify for COVID-related leave for the reasons outlined above. If they can continue working remotely, they do not receive this compensation in lieu of working, if they are able.
If I reduce employee scheduled work hours, can employees use paid sick leave for the hours they are no longer scheduled to work?
No. If you reduce work hours because there is not enough work, employees may not use sick leave to compensate for the hours. Employees may be eligible for unemployment insurance, however.
How does the “compensation cap” work?
Santa Rosa’s ordinance mandates only one compensation cap. If an employee takes paid leave because they are unable to work or telework for any of the eligible reasons, they will be paid for each applicable hour at the greater of their regular rate or Santa Rosa’s $15/hour minimum wage. If an employee’s regular rate of pay exceeds $511/day, that is the maximum an employee may receive.
For example, if an employee works 40 hours/week at $15/hour and takes the full 80 hours of paid COVID leave, that employee would receive a total of $1,200 compensation. If an employee earns the equivalent of $65/hour and they take the full 80 hours of paid COVID leave, their compensation would be capped at a total of $5,110 ($65/hour x 80 hours = $5,200).
Part time employees are compensated pro rata.
FAQs FOR BUSINESSES WITH FEWER THAN 500 EMPLOYEES:
My business employs fewer than 500 employees and I’m currently subject to the Federal Emergency Paid Leave Act; how does Santa Rosa’s ordinance affect my business?
As your business has been subject to the Federal Act since it was implemented, the only change is any remaining leave related to time allotted via the Federal Act starting July 7, 2020, even time taken to care for someone else as outlined above, will be compensated at the employee’s regular rate, not to exceed $510.00/day or $5,110.00 in the aggregate. See above compensation question.
Are there options for small businesses experiencing severe economic hardships?
Per the Federal Act, employers with fewer than 50 employees may qualify for exemption from the requirement to provide leave due to school closings or child care unavailability if the leave requirements would jeopardize the viability of the business as a going concern. Santa Rosa’s ordinance does not alter this. See question 58 on below link to FFCRA FAQs.
FAQs FOR BUSINESSES WITH 500 EMPLOYEES OR MORE & HEALTH CARE PROVIDERS AND EMERGENCY RESPONDERS :
My business of more than 500 employees was exempt from the Federal Act; how does Santa Rosa’s ordinance affect my business?
Beginning July 7, 2020, your business must now comply with the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act portion of the FFCRA as it relates to the Santa Rosa Ordinance.
That is, the Federal Act has a higher compensation rate cap of $511/day and $5,110 in aggregate over a 2-week period for an employee taking leave for reasons 1-3 above, and a lower rate and cap for employees taking leave for reasons 4-5 above (2/3 their regular rate of pay up to $200/day and $2,000 in aggregate of a 2-week period).
Under Santa Rosa’s ordinance only the compensation rate cap of $511/day and $5,110 in aggregate applies.
What if I have already provided my employees with some combination of COVID-related paid personal leave at least equivalent to the paid sick time required by the Santa Rosa ordinance?
The Santa Rosa ordinance in intended to provide additional COVID-related paid sick leave beyond what an employer normally provides. If you have, in fact, provided an additional allowance of paid personal leave related to the pandemic, that leave may be used to offset the 80-hour requirement.
FFCRA QUESTIONS & ANSWERS: https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/pandemic/ffcra-questions