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Bay Area Cities enact their own COVID-19 legislation.

Since the enactment of The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), we have seen cities adopt their own ordinances in response to the federal mandate. San Jose announced theirs on April 7th, San Francisco on April 17th, and Oakland followed suit on May 12th. Notably, these are an extension of the FFCRA and not in replacement of. They are designed to cover any gaps that were felt on a local level.

San Jose:

The San Jose ordinance applies to ALL businesses that are not required to provide paid sick leave through the FFCRA. This includes employers with fewer than 50 employees and healthcare providers or emergency responders.

  • Employees who have worked a minimum of two hours in the City of San Jose are eligible for emergency leave.
  • Employers that have provided their employees with paid personal time off in any combination that is at least equal to the ordinance, prior to its enactment are exempt.

Employees are entitled to their regular pay rate, up to a total of $511/a day and no more than $5,110 total. If the employee is taking emergency leave to care for another person, they are entitled to two-thirds of their regular rate and up to $200/1 day not to exceed $2,000.

San Francisco:

While San Jose includes small businesses, the San Francisco ordinance applies only to businesses that are too large to be subject to the FFCRA. It requires these larger employers to provide the same sort of emergency sick leave (but not family care leave) that smaller employers are obligated to provide under the federal mandate.

  • Employees are eligible for emergency leave if they have performed work in the City, regardless of their hire date or employment status.
  • If an employee that regularly worked in the city had to work from home after February 25, they are still eligible under this ordinance.

Health care providers and emergency responders only fall under this ordinance if the employee has been experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, has been advised to self-quarantine or does not meet CDC guidance to return to work.


Much like San Francisco, Oakland’s ordinance only applies to businesses that employ 500 or more employees. It applies to any employee who has performed work in the city of Oakland for at least two hours after February 3rd, and includes any employee working from home, regardless of their immigration status.

  • Employers already offering 160 hours of paid personal leave and have ensured their employees have access to 80 hours of leave immediately, are exempt as well as all health care providers and emergency responders.
  • Employers with fewer than 50 employees are also exempt (unless they are unregistered janitorial employers or franchisees associated with a franchisor that employs more than 500 employees total).
  • In addition to the qualifying reasons for sick leave under the FFCRA, this ordinance also covers an employee if they are at least 65 years old and/or has a health condition that can put them at high-risk if exposed.

Oakland requires all employers ­­­to pay employees at a rate of 100 percent of the normal hourly wages for any qualifying reason (subject to a daily cap of $511 and total of $5,110).

Both San Jose’s and Oakland’s ordinances are effective through December 31, 2020 while San Francisco’s is effective through June 17, 2020 or when the public health emergency ends, whichever ends sooner.

Is there anything Payroll Systems can help you with as you accommodate rapid legislation changes? Reach out and talk to us about easy-to-scale solutions you need for your business.

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This article provides general information and shouldn’t be construed as legal or HR advice. Since employment laws may change over time and can vary by location and industry, please consult a lawyer or HR expert for advice specific to your business. You can also contact Payroll Systems to inquire about our HR support services.