October 21, 2021

Volume XI, Number 294

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San Jose Issues Guidance and Opinion Letter Regarding Supplemental COVID-19 Paid Sick Leave Ordinance

Soon after San Jose passed its supplemental paid sick leave ordinance to respond to the COVID-19 crisis, it issued further guidance regarding the leave. The Director of the Office of Equality Assurance, the office charged with enforcement of the emergency ordinance, has also issued an opinion letter to provide additional information.

The opinion letter addresses the question of whether an employer that already provides the amount of sick leave hours required by the ordinance, must also provide additional leave for an employee who has exhausted some or all of that leave on the ordinance effective date. The opinion letter states, “[e]mployers covered by the ordinance are required to provide, on the ordinance effective date, at least the number of paid sick leave hours required by Section 9 [of the ordinance], regardless of paid sick leave accrued or used by the employee prior to the effective date.”

Essentially, the employer must provide the amount of sick leave hours needed to bring the employee up to the total hours required by Section 9 of the ordinance (80 hours for full-time employees) by April 7, 2020. An employer that provides some combination of paid personal leave less than the paid sick time required by the ordinance must provide the differential amount to the extent of such deficiency.

For example, assume an employer provides a full-time employee with eighty (80) hours of paid sick leave on January 1, 2020, and the employee had used twenty-four (24) hours of paid sick leave by the ordinance effective date. To comply with the ordinance, the employer must provide the employee with twenty-four (24) hours of additional paid sick leave on the ordinance effective date. The additional twenty-four (24) hours is subject to the limitation that it can be used only for the COVID-19 related reasons stated in the ordinance.

Employers subject to the ordinance are also required to provide notice to employees of their rights under the ordinance by posting or providing a copy of the notice issued by the city.

The COVID-19 Paid Sick Leave webpage indicates that the Office of Equality Assurance will continue to issue opinion letters in response to common questions regarding the ordinance.

Jackson Lewis P.C. © 2021National Law Review, Volume X, Number 112
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About this Author

Stephanie Yang, Wage, Hour, Attorney, Jackson Lewis Law Firm
Associate

Stephanie T. Yang is an Associate in the San Francisco, California, office of Jackson Lewis P.C. Ms. Yang represents employers in all aspects of employment litigation, including wage and hour, discrimination, harassment, wrongful termination, and breach of employment contract claims. She also counsels employers on all areas of employment compliance.

In 2012, Ms. Yang’s trial motions and briefs contributed to two defense verdicts in Orange County. In 2013, Ms. Yang obtained a partial summary judgment in a hotly litigated disability discrimination matter. In 2015...

415-796-5486
Ashley N. Rippolone Employment Attorney Jackson Lewis Silicon Valley, CA
Associate

Ashley N. Rippolone is an Associate in the Silicon Valley, California, office of Jackson Lewis P.C. Her practice focuses on representing employers in workplace law matters before state and federal agencies, in litigation, as well as providing preventive advice and counseling.

While attending law school, Ms. Rippolone served as an extern in the Employment and Administrative Mandate section at the California Department of Justice Office of the Attorney General as well as in the Hearings and Enforcement Units at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. She was...

669-256-5342
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