Insights

Oakland COVID-19 Emergency Paid Sick Leave Ordinance


On May 12, 2020, the Oakland City Council passed an emergency ordinance establishing emergency paid sick leave related to COVID-19. Employers with 50 or more employees must provide up to two weeks of paid leave for employees who are unable to perform work (including telework) for COVID-19-related reasons. The law is similar to emergency paid sick leave under FFCRA, but importantly applies to large employers who are exempt from the federal law.

The reasons for leave are similar to those under the FFCRA:

  • The employee is subject to quarantine or isolation by federal, state or local order due to COVID-19
  • The employee is caring for someone who is quarantined or isolated due to COVID-19
  • The employee is advised by a healthcare provider to self-quarantine due to COVID-19 or is caring for someone who is so advised by a healthcare provider
  • The employee experiences symptoms of COVID-19 and is seeking medical diagnosis
  • The employee is caring for a minor child because a school or daycare is closed due to COVID-19

Additionally, an employee may be eligible for leave if the employee:

  • Is 65 years of age or older
  • Has a health condition such as heart disease, asthma, lung disease, diabetes, kidney disease or weakened immune system
  • Has any condition identified by an Alameda County, California or federal public health official as putting the public at heightened risk of serious illness or death if exposed to COVID-19
  • Has any condition certified by a healthcare professional as putting the employee at a heightened risk of serious illness or death if exposed to COVID- 19

Importantly, employers cannot request or require a healthcare provider’s certification.

Employees are eligible if they have performed at least two hours of work within the city of Oakland after February 3, 2020. Full-time employees (those who average 40 hours per week) are eligible for up to 80 hours of paid leave with part-time employees eligible for their average hours worked over a two week period. To determine average hours worked, the employer should use the period from February 3, 2020, through March 4, 2020. Employees must be paid normal wages up to $511 per day. Health benefits must be continued during the leave period.

The ordinance took effect immediately and will expire on December 31, 2020. The city intends to publish a notice that employers will need to distribute to employees.

Emergency Ordinance »