Businesses with 25 or fewer employees in unincorporated Marin County must now provide paid sick leave to employees who are absent from work due to the pandemic.
The supervisory board unanimously voted to adopt the mandate at its meeting on Tuesday.
“This legislation is intended to support our efforts to reduce the spread of COVID-19,” Marin County Administrator Matthew Hymel told supervisors. “It complements some of our previous efforts regarding rent assistance and emergency assistance for low-income residents who are positive for COVID. “
The order expires on September 30, after which a federal tax credit to reimburse businesses for the cost of sick leave will no longer be available.
“This ordinance is therefore a cost-covered vehicle to ensure the safety of small business employees,” Supervisor Damon Connolly said.
The Families First Coronavirus Response Act, promulgated on March 18, 2020, guarantees paid sick leave to certain employees unable to work due to the health crisis. When that law expired in late December, President Joe Biden signed the American Rescue Plan Act, which extended the tax credit but not the mandate for employers to grant paid sick leave.
On March 19, Governor Gavin Newsom signed Senate Bill 95, which requires all employers over 25 workers to provide paid sick leave related to COVID-19 to employees until September 30.
“This ordinance establishes parity by ensuring that employees of small businesses can take the necessary precautions to prevent the spread of COVID,” Connolly said.
Supervisor Dennis Rodoni said: “It’s just a hole in the safety net that we are closing with this action.”
Under the new rule, a full-time employee who is required to work 40 or more hours per week is granted up to 80 hours of additional paid sick leave. Part-time employees who work less than 40 hours per week are entitled to sick leave no more than their average number of hours over a two-week period, calculated over the previous six months.
Employees do not need to be sick from COVID-19 to be eligible for the benefit. They are also eligible if they are in quarantine for COVID-19; caring for someone who is sick or quarantined due to COVID-19; need to care for an elderly person or a child whose normal caretaker or school is closed due to COVID-19; or attend an appointment for a COVID-19 vaccination.
“This problem really primarily affects low-paid workers, primarily women of color,” said Maddy Hirshfield, policy director for the North Bay Labor Council. “The system we have is forcing people to go to work sick, which is a public health issue at the best of times. During a pandemic, it’s a public nightmare. “
Pedro Conceição, an organizer for SEIU-United Healthcare Workers, said: “Most low-wage workers in California do not have more than three days of paid sick leave which is state-mandated, and only 25% of private sector workers receive at least 10 paid sick days. days a year. We firmly believe that no worker should be forced to choose between working while sick and taking unpaid sick leave. “
Rollie Katz, executive director of the Marin Association of Public Employees, said: “I hope we get the towns of Marin to embrace this as well. “
Officials from San Rafael and Novato said there were no plans to consider a similar measure.