Sonoma County 14 Days Emergency Paid Sick Leave

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Jack Buckhorn
Jack Buckhorn signed this petition

The COVID-19 pandemic is causing tremendous hardships for all working people in the County of Sonoma. The crisis has taught us that we are all interconnected: none of us are healthy and secure if all us are not.

The North Bay Labor Council, North Bay Jobs with Justice, Food Empowerment Project, Sonoma County United in Crisis, the Alliance for a Just Recovery, and other organizations are advocating for policies to protect working families in this public health and economic crisis. It’s why we’re asking Sonoma County of Supervisors to stand with workers and pass 14 days emergency paid sick leave for all.

The ‘Family First Coronavirus Response Act’ passed by Congress and signed by the President did provide emergency paid sick leave for workers employed by companies with less than 500 employees. However, this legislation exempted large employers with more than 500 workers and provided hardship exemptions for small employers with less than 50 employees. Our proposed legislation would close these loopholes and apply to all employers – the basic provisions of the law include:

• 14 emergency paid sick days (80 hours) for all full-time, part-time (pro-rated), and per diem workers employed at least two hours a week (based on the average number of hours worked in a typical two-week period prior to the public health emergency) within the county in addition to the three days guaranteed by the state and permanent sick leave that might be provided by a private or public employer;
• May be used by any resident for diagnosis of symptoms and by any individual subject to a federal, state, or local quarantine or isolation order; or by a worker who is caring for a family member or partner in quarantine or isolation; or for the care of children when school is closed due to a public health emergency;
• An employer shall not require an employee to use any other paid sick leave or vacation time before using emergency paid sick leave;
• Employers will pay the employee at the regular rate of pay not to exceed $511 per day in aggregate;
• Emergency paid sick leave will expire on December 31, 2020, and an employee may not carry over emergency paid sick leave from one year to the next.

A ‘shelter-in-place’ policy to slow the spread of the virus by preventing new infections would be more efficient and effective with emergency paid sick leave. Most low-wage workers do not have paid sick leave. Workers employed by companies and agencies providing essential services (such as grocery, pharmacy, retail, home care, and health care, etc.) who work while sick are certain to pass the virus to customers, patients, and their fellow workers. No one should be forced to choose between working when sick and providing for his or her family.