On April 16, 2020, Governor Gavin Newsom signed Executive Order N-51-20. The Order provides up to 80 hours of supplemental paid sick leave to employees in the food sector industry for certain reasons related to COVID-19 and provides additional time during the workday for handwashing. The order applies to food sector employees, such as those working in agriculture, at grocery stores, and for food delivery services, among others, who are part of the state’s essential infrastructure workforce and have continued to work outside of the home during the pandemic. It is limited to covered employers who have 500 or more employees in the United States, effectively applying to food sector employers in California who were not previously covered by the federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act (“FFCRA”). This supplemental sick leave is in addition to sick leave that may be available under California Labor Code section 246. The text of California Executive Order N-51-20 can be located here.
California’s Executive Order is effective immediately and throughout the duration of the state’s stay-at-home order(s). It also permits employees to continue receiving paid leave until the need for leave is exhausted if they are using it when the stay-at-home order ends. The Labor Commissioner will make a model notice available for employers to post and distribute by April 23, 2020.
California’s Executive Order follows a string of municipal ordinances passed throughout the state providing paid sick leave to employees of certain employers not covered by the FFCRA for reasons related to COVID-19, including Los Angeles and San Jose. A similar ordinance has been approved by San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors and is awaiting mayoral approval.
If you missed our previous posts on legislation and issues related to COVID-19, you can find them here.