© 2021 KALW
KALW Public Media / 91.7 FM Bay Area
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Oakland Passes Emergency Paid Sick Leave Legislation

Lance Yamamoto
Oakland City Councilmember Sheng Thao, who introduced Tuesday's legislation

Last night Oakland City Council unanimously passed a measure that gives workers up to 80 hours of paid sick leave during the pandemic.

The new ordinance is meant to expand on the federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act.  That law requires employers to provide two weeks of paid sick leave, at an employee’s regular rate of pay, if that employee is forced to quarantine or is displaying COVID-like symptoms.  For employees caring for a child or family member affected by the virus, the federal law requires employers to provide two weeks of pay at two thirds an employee’s regular rate.  However the federal act only applies to businesses that employ less than 500 people.

But Oakland’s measure goes further.  It requires all businesses in the city with 50 or more employees to pay their workers 100 percent of their normal wage in sick leave.  This applies to employees caring for a loved one as well as those who are sick themselves. And Oakland’s legislation includes gig workers.

City Councilmember Sheng Thao introduced the ordinance, making Oakland the fourth California city to adopt such legislation, behind Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Jose.  It takes effect immediately and is in place through the end of the year.