COVID-19: Local Labor Standard Policies in California

UC Berkeley Labor Center

Part of the Labor Center’s Covid-19 Series: Resources, Data, and Analysis for California

Local governments in California and across the US have begun to enact policies to protect workers against the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, supplementing and filling gaps in federal and state policies. Key federal policies — including the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFRCA) and Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act — provide sick leave, paid family leave, and unemployment aid to some workers affected by the pandemic, but exclude large swaths of workers depending on firm size and immigration status. California Governor Gavin Newsom has issued a number of executive orders to increase access to unemployment and disability insurance, workers compensation, health care, and paid sick leave. Much work still needs to be done to ensure that all workers have access to sick leave and health care and to protect job security.

Below is a list of California city and county ordinances, proclamations, mayoral directives, and public health orders that expand labor standards for workers affected by the pandemic, such as paid sick leave, health care, worker retention/right of return, hazard pay, and policies that lift workers’ voices in firms and industries. This is followed by select model policies from outside California, such as gig worker pay and high-road wage subsidies.

This page will be updated on an ongoing basis. To request to add a local policy to this page, please email nari@berkeley.edu. For more information on federal and state responses to the COVID-19 pandemic and the economic impact of the pandemic on California, please see our landing page, COVID-19 Series: Resources, Data, and Analysis for California. For information on California occupational safety and health standards related to COVID-19, please see COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Worker Health Resources, compiled by the UC Berkeley Labor Occupational Health Program.

Updated 4/6/2021

City of Long Beach

Paid Sick Leave Ordinance: Private employers with 500 or more employees in the U.S. that are not required to provide paid sick leave under the federal Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act must provide up to 80 hours of paid sick leave. Eligible employees who work in Long Beach can use paid sick leave if they are unable to work due to reasons related to COVID-19. Effective May 19, 2020.

City of Los Angeles

Paid Sick Leave Order: Private employers with 500 or more employees in Los Angeles or 2,000 or more employees in the U.S. must provide up to 80 hours of paid sick leave. Eligible employees who work in Los Angeles can use paid sick leave if they are unable to work or telework due to reasons related to COVID-19. Effective April 7, 2020 until two weeks after the city’s emergency order ends.

County of Los Angeles

Paid Sick Leave Ordinance: Private employers with 500 or more employees in the U.S. that are not required to provide paid sick leave under the federal Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act must provide up to 80 hours of paid sick leave. Eligible employees who work in Los Angeles county can use paid sick leave if they are unable to work or telework due to reasons related to COVID-19. Effective April 28, 2020 to December 31, 2020.

City of Oakland

Protecting Workers and Communities During a Pandemic – COVID-19 Emergency Paid Sick Leave Ordinance: Employers with 50 or more employees, franchise businesses, and some small businesses in Oakland must provide employees up to 80 hours of paid sick leave. Eligible employees who work in Oakland for at least two hours can use paid sick leave if they are unable to work or telework due to reasons related to COVID-19. Effective May 12, 2020 to December 31, 2020.

City of Sacramento

Worker Protection, Health, and Safety Act: Employers with 500 or more employees in the U.S. that are not required to provide paid sick leave under the federal Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act must provide up to 80 hours of paid sick leave. Eligible employees who work in Sacramento can use paid sick leave if they are unable to work or telework due to reasons related to COVID-19. Employees can also refuse to work (without pay) if they believe their employer is violating any of the workplace safety practices and protocols listed in the ordinance. Effective June 30, 2020 until December 31, 2020.

City and County of San Francisco

Paid Leave Programs Proclamation: The Office of Economic and Workforce Development is authorized to implement a program that provides financial assistance to employers who expand their paid sick leave policies. Employees who work in San Francisco or in city-owned property may be eligible to receive additional paid sick leave. The SFMTA and the city’s human resources department are also authorized to create paid leave programs for city employees that are not working. Effective March 17, 2020.

Extension of Paid Leave Programs Proclamation: The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) and the city’s human resources department are authorized to extend paid leave programs for city employees that are not working (first authorized in the paid leave programs proclamation above). City employees may also be eligible for up to 80 hours of extra paid sick leave in addition to paid sick leave under the federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act. Effective March 31, 2020.

Grocery Store, Drug Store, Restaurant, and On-Demand Delivery Service Employee Protections Ordinance: Grocery store, drug store, and restaurant employers in San Francisco and on-demand delivery services that operate in the city must approve employee requests to cancel work shifts for any reason for which an employee may use emergency paid sick leave or paid sick leave. Employers must allow eligible employees to use sick leave or reschedule work. Effective May 1, 2020 until the city’s emergency order ends or 61 days after the ordinance was enacted, whichever comes first.

Public Health Emergency Leave Ordinance: Private employers with 500 or more employees are required to provide up to 80 hours of paid sick leave. Eligible employees who work in San Francisco can use paid sick leave if they are unable to work or telework due to reasons related to COVID-19. The ordinance was first enacted on April 17, 2020 and was reenacted upon termination. Now effective June 12, 2020 until the city’s emergency order ends or 61 days after the effective date, whichever comes first.

Right to Recover Program: Workers who live in San Francisco and test positive for COVID-19 may receive two weeks of minimum wage income replacement, or about $1,285. The San Francisco Department of Public Health interviews individuals who test positive and connects eligible workers to the program. Workers may also be eligible for other resources needed to self-quarantine, for example food delivery and free hotel rooms. The program is funded through private donations. Effective July 1, 2020.

City of San Jose

Paid Sick Leave Ordinance: Private employers in San Jose that are not required to provide paid sick leave under the federal Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act must provide employees up to 80 hours of paid sick leave. Eligible employees who perform at least two hours of essential work in San Jose can use paid sick leave if they are unable to work due to reasons related to COVID-19. Effective April 7, 2020 to December 31, 2020.

County of San Mateo

Paid Sick Leave Ordinance: Employers in San Mateo County with 500 or more employees in the U.S. must provide up to 80 hours of paid sick leave. Eligible employees who work in San Mateo County can use paid sick leave if they are unable to work or telework due to reasons related to COVID-19. Effective July 8, 2020 until December 31, 2020.

City of Santa Rosa

Paid Sick Leave Ordinance: Private employers in Santa Rosa with 500 or more employees in the U.S. must provide up to 80 hours of paid sick leave. Eligible employees who perform at least two hours of essential work in Santa Rosa can use paid sick leave if they are unable to work due to reasons related to COVID-19. Effective July 7, 2020 until December 31, 2020.

City of Long Beach

Worker Retention Ordinance: Commercial property and hotel employers with 25 or more employees in Long Beach must follow certain worker retention guidelines if there is a change in business ownership. The successor business must hire eligible employees from a preferential hiring list and retain employees for no less than 90 days. Effective June 22, 2020.

Right of Recall Ordinance: Commercial property and hotel employers with 25 or more employees in Long Beach must prioritize rehiring laid off employees as positions become available. Eligible employees include hotel and janitorial service employees who were laid off due to reasons related to COVID-19. Effective June 22, 2020.

City of Los Angeles

Grocery, Drug Retail and Food Delivery Worker Protection Order: Grocery and drug store employers in Los Angeles and food delivery platforms that operate in the city are required to approve employee requests for schedule changes due to reasons related to COVID-19. Employers must offer any additional work hours to current employees before hiring new employees. Effective April 7, 2020 until the city’s emergency order ends.

Worker Retention Ordinance: Airport, commercial property, event center, and hotel employers in Los Angeles must follow certain worker retention guidelines if there is a change in business ownership. The successor business must hire eligible employees from a preferential hiring list and retain employees for no less than 90 days. Effective June 14, 2020.

Right of Recall Ordinance: Airport, commercial property, event center, and hotel employers in Los Angeles must prioritize rehiring laid off employees as positions become available. Eligible employees include janitorial, maintenance, security, and hospitality service employees who were laid off due to reasons related to COVID-19. Effective June 14, 2020.

County of Los Angeles

Worker Retention Ordinance: Commercial property and hotel employers in Los Angeles county must follow certain worker retention guidelines if there is a change in business ownership. The successor business must hire eligible employees from a preferential hiring list and retain employees for no less than 90 days. Effective May 12, 2020.

Right of Recall Ordinance: Commercial property and hotel employers in Los Angeles county must prioritize rehiring laid off employees as positions become available. Eligible employees include janitorial, maintenance, security, and hospitality service employees who were laid off due to reasons related to COVID-19. Effective May 12, 2020.

City of Oakland

Hospitality and Travel Worker Right to Recall Ordinance: Airport, restaurant, event center, and hotel employers covered under the ordinance must prioritize rehiring eligible employees who were laid off due to reasons related to COVID-19. If there is a change in business ownership, the incumbent business will provide the successor business with an employee recall list. The successor business must retain employees for no less than 45 days. Enforcement begins August 15, 2020.

City and County of San Francisco

Back to Work Ordinance: For-profit and non-profit employers in San Francisco with 100 or more employees are required to provide a written notice when there is a layoff due to reasons related to COVID-19. Employers must prioritize rehiring eligible laid off employees who worked for at least 90 days prior to receiving a layoff notice. Effective July 3, 2020 and remains in effect for 60 days, unless the ordinance is reenacted.

Healthy Buildings Ordinance: Tourist hotels and large commercial building employers in San Francisco must follow new cleaning and disease prevention standards. Employers must provide employees with proper training during work hours, along with personal protective equipment and hand sanitizer at no extra cost. If the San Francisco Department of Public Health recommends that employees undergo COVID-19 testing, employees will be tested during work hours at no extra cost. Employers cannot retaliate against employees who disclose information about ordinance violations or who refuse to work in unsafe conditions. Effective July 17, 2020 and remains in effect for 60 days, unless the ordinance is reenacted.

City and County of San Francisco

Health Plan Requirements Proclamation: City departments or agencies that enter COVID-19 essential services contracts must offer employees health benefits that meet certain coverage requirements. Eligible employees include janitorial, food delivery, food service, and cleaning service employees who work in San Francisco for at least two hours. Effective May 13, 2020 until the city’s emergency order ends.

SF Medical Reimbursement Account Cash Grant Proclamation: Workers with SF MRA account balances of at least $100 will receive a one-time grant of $500 to help pay for food, rent, utilities, and other basic needs. (Many private employers in San Francisco contribute to SF MRAs, administered by the SF City Option healthcare program, to meet the health care expenditure requirements of the city’s Health Care Security Ordinance.) Effective June 2, 2020.

City of Alameda

Grocery Worker Hazard Pay: Large grocery store employers that employ 500 or more employees nationwide, are required to provide a $5 per hour hazard premium pay to employees at stores that are larger than 15,000 square feet. The ordinance remains in effect while the City is within a Widespread (purple), Substantial (red), or Moderate (orange) risk level under State Health Orders. Effective Date:

City of American Canyon

Hazard Pay for Grocery Workers: Grocery store employers that employ 300 or more workers nationwide will be required to provide a $5 per hour hazard pay premium. Effective March 26th for 120 days.

City of Berkeley

COVID 19 Hazard Pay for Grocery Store Workers: Grocery stores that employ more than 300 workers in the state of California are required to pay a $5 per hour hazard pay premium during the COVID-19 pandemic. Effective February 23, 2021 for 120 days, unless extended or the 7-day average COVID-19 positivity rate for Alameda County falls below two percent.

City of Buena Park

Premium Pay for Grocery Workers Ordinance: Grocery store employers that employ 500 or more employees nationwide and at least 20 employees per store in the City are required to pay a $4 per hour hazard pay premium.  Effective April 8th, 2021 for 120 days or in which the City of Buena Park is within a Moderate (orange) risk level, whichever is sooner.

City of Coachella

Premium Pay for Agricultural, Grocery, Restaurant, and Retail Pharmacy Workers: Companies that employ 300 or more workers in agriculture, grocery stores, restaurants, and retail pharmacies nationwide are required to pay a $4 per hour hazard pay premium during the COVID-19 pandemic. Effective February 10, 2021, for 120 days unless extended.

City of Costa Mesa

Temporary Premium Pay for Grocery Workers: Grocery and retail pharmacy store employers that employ 300 or more workers nationwide or more than 15 employees per store in the city will be required to provide a $4 per hour hazard pay premium. Effective March 16th, 2021 for 120 days.

City of Daly City

Hazard Pay for Grocery and Drug Store Workers Ordinance: Grocery and drug retail stores that employ 500 or more employees nationally are required to pay a $5 per hour hazard pay premium. Effective March 8th, 2021 for 120 days.

City of El Monte

“Hero” Pay for Frontline Retail Establishment Employees: Grocery and retail pharmacy establishments that employ 300 or more employees nationwide and more than 10 employees per site in the city are required to provide a $4 per hour hazard pay premium for store employees. Effective March 16, 2021, for 120 days unless extended by City Council, or until 15 days after the County of Los Angeles is classified as being in the Tier 4 Minimal (Yellow) COVID threat category, whichever is sooner.

City of Irvine

Frontline Grocery and Drug Retail Workers Hazard Pay Ordinance: Grocery store employers are required to pay a $4 per hour hazard pay premium. Effective March 4th, 2021 for 120 days.

City of Long Beach

Hazard Pay Ordinance: Grocery stores that employ more than 300 workers nationally or 15 in the City of Long Beach must provide $4 per hour premium pay for grocery store employees during the COVID-19 pandemic. Effective February 3rd, 2021 for 120 days unless extended by the Long Beach City Council.

City of Los Angeles

Premium Hazard Pay for On-Site Grocery and Retail Workers: Grocery and drug retail stores that employ 300 or more employees nationally and employ more than 10 employees per location in the City are required to pay a $5 per hour hazard pay premium. Effective March 8th, 2021 for 120 days.

County of Los Angeles

Hazard Pay for Frontline Workers: The ordinance, which applies in unincorporated areas of the county, states that publicly traded grocery and drug retail companies, or those that employ 300 or more employees nationwide and more than 10 employees per site, are required to provide a $5 per hour hazard pay premium for employees. Employees may elect, in writing, to receive paid leave in lieu of the hazard pay. Effective Date: February 26, 2021 for 120 days.

City of Millbrae

Large Grocery and Drug Store Hazard Pay Ordinance: Grocery and drugstore companies that employ more than 1000 workers nationwide are required to provide a $5 per hour hazard pay premium. Effective March 9th, 2021 for 120 days unless extended.

City of Montebello

Premium Pay for Grocery and Drug Store Workers Ordinance: Grocery and drug store employers that employ 300 or more workers nationwide or more than 15 employees per store will be required to provide a $4 per hour hazard pay premium during the COVID-19 pandemic. Effective February 10, 2021, for 180 days unless extended.

City of Oakland

Grocery Worker Hazard Pay Emergency Ordinance: Large grocery stores that employ 500 or more employees are required to pay $6 per hour hazard pay premium for employees during the COVID-19 pandemic. This hazard pay is required while the City of Oakland is the Widespread, Substantial, or Moderate risk level for COVID-19. The ordinance becomes ineffective during periods of Minimal risk. Effective February 9, 2021.

City of Palm Springs

Premium Pay for Grocery Workers Ordinance: Grocery store employers that employ 300 or more workers nationwide or more than 15 employees per store will be required to provide a $4 per hour hazard premium pay. Effective March 11th, 2021, for 120 days unless extended.

City of Pomona

Premium Pay for Designated Retail Employees Ordinance: Grocery and retail stores that employ 300 or more employees nationally and employ more than 10 employees per location in the City are required to provide a $4 per hour premium pay. Effective March 1st, 2021 to June 29, 2021, unless extended.

City and County of San Francisco

Emergency Ordinance – COVID-Related Hazard Pay: Grocery and retail pharmacy employers that employ 500 or more employees worldwide and employ more than 20 employees per location in the City, and the property service contractors who provide services to these grocery or pharmacy locations, are required to provide a $5 per hour hazard pay premium. Effective as of March 9, 2021 for 61 days or until the health emergency order of COVID-19 is terminated, whichever is sooner.

City of San Jose

Grocery Store Employee Hazard Premium Pay Ordinance: Grocery store employers that employ 300 or more employees nationwide will be required to provide a $3 per hour hazard pay premium during the COVID-19 pandemic. This applies to all retail stores that dedicate at least 10 percent of the sales area square footage to nontaxable merchandise. Effective March 26, 2021 for 120 days unless extended.

City of San Leandro

Retail Food Worker Hazard Pay Ordinance: Grocery stores that employ more than 300 workers in the state of California are required to pay a $5 per hour hazard pay premium during the COVID-19 pandemic. Employers are required to provide this premium pay for a period of 120 days from the effective date of the Ordinance, or during which the City of San Leandro is within a Widespread (purple), Substantial (red), or Moderate (orange) risk levels, or until all employees are vaccinated. Effective on March 1st, 2021.

City of San Mateo

Emergency Ordinance – Hazard Pay for Large Grocery and Drug Store Employees: Grocery and drug store employers that employ 750 or more workers nationally are required to provide a $5 per hour hazard pay premium to frontline workers. Effective March 1st, 2021 for 90 days, unless extended.

City of Santa Ana

Premium Pay for Grocery and Retail Pharmacy Workers Ordinance: Grocery and retail pharmacy store employers that employ 300 or more workers nationwide or more than 15 employees per store within the city will be required to provide a $4 per hour hazard premium pay. Effective March 2nd, 2021, for 120 days unless extended.

County of Santa Clara

COVID 19 Hazard Premium for Specified Frontline Workers: Grocery and drug store employers in unincorporated areas of the county that employ 300 or more workers nationwide or more than 15 employees per store will be required to provide a $5 per hour hazard pay premium to employees who earn less than twice the applicable local minimum wage. Effective April 8, 2021 (30 days from adoption on March 9,2021) for 180 days or until the county declares the end of the COVID 19 pandemic, whichever is sooner.

City of Santa Monica

Hero Pay Ordinance: Grocery and retail drugstore employers that are publicly traded or that employ 300 or more employees nationwide and more than 10 employees per site in the City, are required to provide a $5 per hour hazard pay premium for store employees. Effective March 11, 2021 for 120 days.

City of South San Francisco

Grocery and Drug Store Worker Hazard Pay Emergency Ordinance: Grocery and drugstore companies are required to provide a $5 per hour hazard pay premium. Effective February 24, 2021 for 90 days.

City of West Hollywood

Premium Pay and Labor Protection for Grocery Store Workers Ordinance: Grocery stores that dedicate 70 percent or more of their business to food products and employ over 300 grocery workers nationally or more than 15 workers per grocery store are required to pay a $5 per hour hazard pay premium during the COVID-19 pandemic. Effective Date: February 16, 2021, for a minimum of 120 days.

Gig Workers

City of Seattle – Premium Pay for Gig Workers Ordinance: Food delivery network companies that operate in Seattle and hire 250 or more gig workers worldwide are required to provide premium pay for online orders. Companies must pay gig workers $2.50 in premium pay for one order pick up or drop off in Seattle and $1.25 for each additional pick up and drop off. Effective June 26, 2020.

City of Seattle – Paid Sick and Safe Time for Gig Workers Ordinance: Food delivery network and transportation network companies that operate in Seattle and hire 250 or more gig workers worldwide are required to provide paid sick and safe time. Eligible gig workers can accrue one day of paid sick and safe time for every 30 days worked and can be used for any reason related to health or safety. Gig workers can continue to accrue paid sick and safe time for 180 days after the city’s emergency order ends. Effective July 13, 2020.

Restaurant Worker Wage Replacement Subsidy

New York City – Restaurant Revitalization Program: The Restaurant Revitalization Program has created a $2 million fund to help restaurants pay employees who are underemployed or unemployed due to COVID-19. Eligible restaurants may receive up to $30,000 in funding to keep at least five employees on their payroll for six to twelve weeks at a wage of at least $20 per hour. To be eligible, restaurants must commit to paying all employees the full minimum wage (not inclusive of tips) within five years after returning to regular operations. Preference is given to restaurants that commit to high-road employment practices, such as partnering with the Restaurant Opportunity Center’s One Fair Wage program. Effective June 19, 2020.

Whistleblower Protections

City of Philadelphia – Employee Protections in Connection with COVID-19 Emergency Health Order: Employers in Philadelphia must comply with city-issued COVID-19 public health orders regarding safe workplace practices. Employers cannot take adverse action against employees who disclose information about public health order violations that threaten employee or public safety or who refuse to work in unsafe conditions due to a health order violation. Effective June 26, 2020.