In the midst of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) global pandemic, the CDC has recommended that everyone take steps to protect themselves and their communities, including avoiding close contact with others. If you have to take time off work sick or your workplace is closed, what are your legal rights? If your child’s school is closed, can you stay home with your children?
Find out more about your right to paid sick time in Emeryville, California below. Please note that you may also have an additional right to emergency paid leave for COVID-19 purposes under federal law, as described in more detail here.
NOTE: Visit here for information about California’s statewide paid sick time law.
1) What does the Emeryville Paid Sick Time law do?
It gives workers sick time that can be used to recover from physical/mental illness or injury; to seek medical diagnosis, treatment, or preventative care; to care for a family member who is ill or needs medical diagnosis, treatment, or preventative care; to aid or care for the worker’s or a family member’s guide dog, signal dog, or service dog; or to address certain needs that may arise if the worker is a victim of domestic violence.
Additionally, the City released administrative guidance clarifying that sick time can also be used for certain COVID-19 related reasons, including when a worker takes off work because:
- A public health official or healthcare provider requires or recommends the worker isolate or quarantine to prevent the spread of disease;
- The worker is part of a “vulnerable population” as defined by guidance from the State of California or any other subsequent official updates;
- The worker’s business or work location temporarily ceases operations in response to a public health official’s or other public official’s recommendation;
- The worker needs to provide care for a family member who is not sick but who public health officials or healthcare providers have required or recommended isolate or quarantine; or
- The worker needs to provide care for a family member whose school, childcare provider, senior care provider, or work temporarily ceases operations in response to a public health official’s or other public official’s recommendation.
2) Am I covered?
If you work as an employee in Emeryville for at least 2 hours in a calendar week, you are probably covered, whether you are a full-time, part-time, or temporary worker. However, the law does not cover federal and state employees and a few other narrow groups.
3) How much paid sick time can I earn?
You earn 1 hour of paid sick time for every 30 hours worked. If your workplace has 55 or more workers, you can earn up to 72 hours of paid sick time. If your workplace has fewer than 55 workers, you can earn up to 48 hours of paid sick time. Once you have earned the maximum hours of paid sick time, you cannot earn more paid sick time until you have used some.
All covered employees are protected against being fired or punished for using or requesting their sick time (including threats, discipline, demotion, reduction in hours, termination, etc.).
4) What if my work or my child’s school or daycare is closed for a health emergency?
As mentioned above (under Question #1), the City released administrative guidance that clarifies that you can use your sick time when your business or work location temporarily ceases operations in response to a public health official’s or other public official’s recommendation, or to care for a family member whose school, childcare provider, senior care provider, or work temporarily ceases operations in response to a public health official’s or other public official’s recommendation.
5) Which of my family members are covered by the law?
Under the law, you can take sick time to care for yourself or a child, spouse, registered domestic partner, parent, parent of a spouse or registered domestic partner, grandchild, grandparent, sibling, or, if you don’t have a spouse or registered domestic partner, a designated person of your choice.
6) What if I already have paid leave or paid time off?
If you already get any paid leave (vacation, paid time off, etc.) that you can use as sick time and it’s at least the same amount you would earn under this law, the law does not give you any additional paid time off.
7) When can I begin using my sick time?
You start earning sick time immediately but cannot use it until 90 days after the start of your employment.
8) Do I need a doctor’s note?
Depending on the circumstances, your employer may require a doctor’s note.
All covered workers are protected against being fired or punished for using or requesting sick or safe time. If you have a problem—or want more information—call A Better Balance’s free legal helpline at 1-833-NEED-ABB.
Please note that this fact sheet does not represent an exhaustive overview of the paid sick time law described, and it does not constitute legal advice. It is possible that additional provisions not described in this fact sheet may apply to a worker’s specific circumstances or category of employment.
For the full list of state and local paid sick time laws, visit here.