Last week, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed an Executive Order mandating 80 hours of supplemental paid sick leave for COVID-19 related reasons be provided to “food sector workers” at private companies with 500 or more employees. The Order builds upon the federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), which imposes similar requirements for employers with fewer than 500 employees. The Order is in effect now and will continue to be effective for the duration of any statewide stay-at-home order.
The Order requires an employer to provide paid sick leave if the food sector worker is unable to work due to any one of the following reasons:
A covered food sector worker is entitled to supplemental paid sick leave at an hourly rate equal to the highest of (1) the worker’s regular rate of pay for the last pay period; (2) the State minimum wage; or (3) the local minimum wage.
A covered business is not required to pay supplemental paid sick leave more than $511 per day and $5,110 in aggregate total.
Full-time workers or workers scheduled to work an average of at least 40 hours per week in the two weeks before the leave is taken are entitled to 80 hours of supplemental paid sick leave under the Executive Order.
Part-time workers are entitled to supplemental paid sick leave equal to the number of hours the worker is normally scheduled to work over a two-week period provided that the worker has a normal weekly schedule. Part-time workers with variable hours may take fourteen times the average number of hours the worker worked each day in the six months preceding the date the worker takes supplemental paid sick leave. In cases where the part-time worker has worked for the company for fewer than six months, the number of hours is calculated over the entire time the worker has performed services for the company.
Covered employers must display a poster in a conspicuous place that contains information about supplemental paid sick leave available under the Order. If a company’s food sector workers do not frequent a particular workplace, then the employer may use electronic means to convey the availability of the benefit. The California Labor Commissioner is scheduled to provide additional guidance on notice requirements today, April 23, 2020. Covered employers should immediately familiarize themselves with the Order and be prepared to provide the mandated supplemental sick leave to covered workers.
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