As COVID cases have surged, Oakland extends regulation to give paid sick leave

OAKLAND — As scenarios of COVID-19 have ongoing to surge almost a calendar year into the pandemic, Oakland is extending an ordinance it enacted previous spring that involves companies to offer 80 hrs of paid out ill leave to employees affected by coronavirus.

The ordinance requires companies with extra than 50 personnel to offer 80 hours of compensated ill leave to full-time workers who are both unwell with COVID-19 or have been exposed to the virus, people who are caring for a household member uncovered to COVID-19, or who have a boy or girl whose college is closed beneath a community or point out buy.

It also makes it possible for staff members to just take that time off of get the job done to secure themselves from publicity to COVID-19 if they are at larger hazard of becoming severely unwell or dying from the virus, these types of as if they are around the age of 65 or have underlying overall health problems.

“The incredibly personnel we rely on to navigate this disaster ought to be in a position to safeguard themselves and their households,” reported a memo summarizing the ordinance from metropolis councilmembers Sheng Thao and Dan Kalb, who introduced the extension of the metropolis regulation. “No 1 ought to have to pick in between maintaining their relatives risk-free and putting food on the desk.”

It will come as California is nevertheless grappling with important outbreaks of COVID-19. Soon after the condition arrived at its 2 millionth confirmed case of COVID-19 on Dec. 23, it has now strike 3 million cases.

Many authorities say that solid sick leave guidelines in which employees can consider paid out time to get well with no getting other folks unwell or restrict their own exposure to the virus are important to supporting to stop the unfold of the virus.

The primary ordinance was adopted by the Town Council in May perhaps as a complement to the federal Families Initial Coronavirus Response Act. The federal regulation fell short in that it did not use to organizations with far more than 500 staff and did not permit staff to use the compensated sick go away to take time off for the threat their age or underlying conditions posed, as Oakland’s ordinance does. The federal regulation also only compensated for 66 p.c of employees’ frequent fork out if they have been making use of the time off to treatment for a child whose college was closed thanks to COVID-19 or other spouse and children member affected by COVID-19.

The federal regulation expired on Dec. 31 and thus under federal legislation, companies throughout the state are no for a longer period demanded to supply the paid sick depart to their employees. A new federal law the Consolidated Appropriations Act , 2021, lets employers tax credits for delivering the paid out unwell leave, nonetheless.

Oakland’s renewed law, which went into influence quickly on its acceptance Tuesday as an “emergency” ordinance, does not have a precise expiration day. Alternatively, it will be tied to however lengthy Oakland’s coronavirus-connected local emergency proclamation remains in outcome.

Oakland is not the only city to enact or lengthen needs on companies to give unwell depart.

Earlier this thirty day period, the San Jose Town Council unanimously voted to lengthen a related ordinance in that town until finally the center of this yr.

Oakland town personnel in charge of taking care of the ordinance and its enforcement said Tuesday they will location an up to date memo on the city’s website to deal with routinely asked issues.

So much, the town staffers stated, the reaction from staff in Oakland has been supportive of the ordinance.

City staffer Ron San Miguel advised councilmembers that he and his colleagues in the office of place of work and employment requirements had been given mobile phone phone calls and electronic mail inquiries about no matter whether the ordinance would be prolonged, and that numerous people today who do the job in the town had termed to say they had been given their crisis paid ill depart productively.