In Ferra v. Loews Hollywood Hotel, LLC, the California Supreme Court departed from the longstanding view that non-exempt employees’ meal and rest break premiums are paid at the employee’s base hourly rate, rather than the employee’s regular rate of pay used to calculate overtime pay. Instead, the Court held that the phrase “regular rate
Sonoma County passes emergency paid sick leave ordinance
Sonoma County (the County) initially enacted Ordinance No. 6320 on August 18, 2020 to provide COVID-19 related paid sick leave to employees not covered by the federal Families First Coronavirus Relief Act (FFCRA) in the unincorporated areas of the County. Ordinance No. 6320 expired on December 31, 2020, however, because its expiration date was tied to the FFCRA. On January 26, 2021, the County extended Ordinance No. 6320 until June 30, 2021.
On February 9, 2021, the County enacted Ordinance No. 6336, which required all employers in the unincorporated areas of the County to allow their employees to use up to 80 hours of any unused paid leave benefits previously furnished to employees in 2020 for various COVID-19 sick purposes and/or for the care of the employee’s immediate family member whose senior care provider or whose school or childcare provider was closed or was unavailable due to COVID-19 reasons.…
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It pays to be vaccinated in Los Angeles County with new paid leave ordinance
The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors recently enacted an urgency ordinance that requires employers to provide supplemental paid leave of up to four hours per injection for employees working in unincorporated areas of Los Angeles County to obtain the COVID-19 vaccine. The Employee Paid Leave for Expanded Vaccine Access Ordinance (the Ordinance) is effective retroactively to January 1, 2021 and will remain in effect until August 31, 2021.
Covered employers and eligible employees
The Ordinance applies to all employers who have employees working in the unincorporated areas of Los Angeles County. The Ordinance establishes a presumption that a worker is an employee and the employer bears the burden to demonstrate that a worker is a bona fide independent contractor, and thus not entitled to any benefits under the Ordinance.
Covered employers must provide “COVID-19 Vaccine Leave” to eligible employees to:
- Travel to and from a COVID-19 vaccine appointment;
- Receive the COVID-19 vaccine injection; and
- Recover from any symptoms related to receiving the COVID-19 vaccine that prevent the employees from being able to work or telework.
Eligible employees are those who: 1) work in the unincorporated areas of Los Angeles County; and 2) have exhausted all available leave time under California’s 2021 COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave Law, codified as Labor Code section 248.2. In other words, because Labor Code section 248.2 already requires employers to provide up to 80 hours of paid leave to employees for the same reasons as the Ordinance, employees must first use all available paid leave provided by Labor Code section 248.2 before they are eligible for paid leave under the Ordinance.
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California requires new COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave in 2021
On March 19, 2021, Governor Newsom signed Senate Bill 95 (SB 95), which creates, in part, new Labor Code Section 248.2. As a reminder, Governor Newsom previously signed AB 1867, which added Labor Code sections 248 and 248.1 to provide COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave to food sector workers and employees who worked for employers with 500 plus employees nationwide, respectively. Those requirements expired on December 30, 2020.
Section 248.2 provides covered employees with up to 80 new hours of COVID-19 supplemental paid sick leave (SPSL). SPSL is sick leave in addition to paid sick leave employers are already required to provide under the Health Workplaces, Healthy Families Act. This new requirement goes into effect on March 29, 2021 (although, as discussed below, leave provided on or after January 1, 2021 may be applied retroactively) and expires on September 30, 2021, unless otherwise extended. The Labor Commissioner has already published FAQs for Labor Code section 248.2 here.…
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California requires new COVID-19 supplemental paid sick leave
On September 9, 2020, Governor Newsom signed Assembly Bill (AB) 1867 into law, adding section 248.1 to the Labor Code. Under this new section, “hiring entities” are required to provide supplemental COVID-19 paid sick leave (CPSL) to “covered workers.” This is in addition to any paid sick leave that may be available to the covered workers under California’s Healthy Workplace Healthy Family Act of 2014 (HWHFA).
“Hiring entities” include private businesses with 500 or more employees in the United States or public entities that employ health care providers or emergency responders that have elected to exclude such employees from emergency paid sick leave under the Federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act. Notably, there is no exception for unionized workforces with a collective bargaining agreement providing for paid sick leave.
“Covered workers” include individuals employed by a hiring entity that leave home to perform work. Excluded from covered workers are food sector workers, who are instead provided supplemental COVID-19 paid sick leave under Labor Code section 248. …
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San Francisco mandates certain workers be rehired in emergency ordinance
Effective July 3, 2020, San Francisco’s Back-to-Work Emergency Ordinance (Emergency Ordinance) seeks to mitigate the economic harm for individuals who are unable to work due to the COVID-19 public health emergency by creating a temporary right to reemployment for certain employees laid off due to the coronavirus pandemic if their employer seeks to fill the same, or substantially similar, position previously held by a laid-off worker. The Emergency Ordinance also imposes written notice and record retention requirements on employers. The Emergency Ordinance expires on September 2, 2020 unless reenacted.
The Emergency Ordinance contains several key definitions that employers should refer to in order to determine whether any personnel action the employer is considering taking will be subject to the requirements therein. Of particular importance, the Emergency Ordinance defines Covered Layoff, Covered Employer and Eligible Employees as follows:…
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California now requires face coverings in public
On June 18, 2020, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) issued guidance mandating that face coverings be worn state-wide. While several California counties and cities have passed local laws requiring face coverings over the past few months, state public health officials had only previously recommended the use of face coverings.
Face covering requirements
People in California must wear face coverings when:
- Inside of, or in line to enter, any indoor public space;
- Obtaining services from the healthcare sector in settings including, but not limited to, a hospital, pharmacy, medical clinic, laboratory, physician or dental office, veterinary clinic, or blood bank;
- Waiting for or riding on public transportation or paratransit or while in a taxi, private car service, or ride-sharing vehicle;
- Engaged in work, whether at the workplace or performing work off-site, when:
- Interacting in-person with any member of the public;
- Working in any space visited by members of the public, regardless of whether anyone from the public is present at the time;
- Working in any space where food is prepared or packaged for sale or distribution to others;
- Working in or walking through common areas, such as hallways, stairways, elevators, and parking facilities;
- In any room or enclosed area where other people (except for members of the person’s own household or residence) are present when unable to physically distance.
- Driving or operating any public transportation or paratransit vehicle, taxi, or private car service or ride-sharing vehicle when passengers are present. When no passengers are present, face coverings are strongly recommended.
- While outdoors in public spaces when maintaining a physical distance of six feet from persons who are not members of the same household or residence is not feasible.
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Oakland passes COVID-19 paid sick leave
On May 12, 2020, Oakland passed an emergency ordinance joining Los Angeles, San Francisco, and San Jose in requiring employers to provide paid sick leave to employees for COVID-19-related reasons. Codified as Code of Ordinances Chapter 5.94 and known as the “Protecting Workers and Communities During a Pandemic – COVID-19 Emergency Paid Sick Leave Ordinance” (Emergency Paid Sick Leave), Oakland’s new paid sick leave requirements aim to fill the gaps in the coverage provided by the federal Families First Coronavirus Relief Act (FFCRA).
Unlike the FFCRA, which only applies to employers with fewer than 500 employees, Oakland’s new paid sick leave requirements apply to all private employers, regardless of the number of employees, but subject to the exemptions noted below. Covered employers must pay the Emergency Paid Sick Leave payment by no later than the payday for the next regular payroll period after the employee takes Emergency Paid Sick Leave, and no more than 14 days after the employee takes Emergency Paid Sick Leave.
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Returning to work during the COVID-19 pandemic: Employer’s rights and obligations to high-risk workers
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) updated and expanded a Technical Assistance Publication on May 5, 2020, and then again on May 7, 2020, focusing on employer obligations under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and related laws during the COVID-19 pandemic. The EEOC’s guidance comes as many states are reopening their economies and allowing businesses to admit employees back into the workplace.
The Question-and-Answer format of the updated publication reminds employers of their obligation to continue to provide reasonable accommodations in the workplace, even in the middle of a pandemic. Of particular interest to employers are situations where the worker is already known to have a medical condition that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has flagged as putting the individual at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19. The full CDC list is available here, and includes people with moderate to severe asthma, severe obesity, diabetes, and many other impairments. The EEOC’s position regarding the employer’s rights and obligations when returning such individuals to the workplace has two key parts.…
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COVID-19 FAQs for California employers
The worldwide COVID-19 pandemic has had, and will continue to have, a substantial impact on the U.S. workplace. We have prepared a series of FAQs compiled based on some of the more common questions that clients with California-based employees have posed to us over roughly the past six weeks.
These FAQs are general and high-level…