The Marin County Board of Supervisions enacted an urgency ordinance that requires employers with 25 or fewer employees in the County’s unincorporated areas to provide paid supplemental sick leave for COVID-19 related reasons (Marin COVID-19 PSL). The law is intended to cover employers that are not subject to the California COVID-19 Supplemental Sick Leave. The ordinance will expire September 30, 2021.
- Applies to any employer in the unincorporated areas Marin County that employs 25 or fewer employees;
- Provides a new and separate bank of up to 80 hours of COVID-19-related paid sick leave;
- Took effect on June 8, 2021 and will remain in effect through September 30, 2021;
- Applies to employees who are unable to work or telework due to a COVID-19 qualifying reason;
- Requires employers to provide a notice posting to employees.
Marin COVID-19 PSL applies to all private employers within the unincorporated area of Marin County who employ 25 or fewer employees.
Marin COVID-19 PSL applies to any employee who has worked for a Covered Employer for more than two (2) hours within the geographic boundaries of the unincorporated areas of Marin County.
Amount of Leave and Rate of Pay
The amount of leave depends on the employee’s hours worked as follows:
- Full-time employees normally scheduled to work 40 or more hours per week are entitled to receive 80 hours of Marin COVID-19 PSL
- Part-time employees are entitled to their average number of work hours in a two-week period which is calculated over the prior six-month period.
Marin COVID-19 PSL is paid at the employee’s regular rate of pay, subject to a cap of $511 per day and $5,110 in the aggregate, unless federal legislation is enacted that increases these amounts beyond the amounts that were included in the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), in which case the new federal dollar amounts will apply to Marin COVID-19 PSL.
Can Employers Offset Marin COVID-19 PSL Against Other Leave Entitlements?
Marin COVID-19 PSL is “in addition to” any paid sick leave that may be available to the employee under California’s Healthy Workplace Healthy Family Act, as well as any pre-existing paid time off (vacation, sick and/or PTO) provided to employees prior to March 16, 2020, subject to the below potential offsets. Employers cannot require employees to use other leave that is available under existing policies before employees can use Marin COVID-19 PSL.
Employer Offset and Exhaustion of Benefits
If an employee had at least eighty (80) hours of accrued paid sick leave benefits as of June 8, 2021, or at least one hundred sixty (160) hours of a combination of paid sick leave, vacation and PTO paid time off benefits, then the obligation for the employer to provide Marin COVID-19 PSL is deemed satisfied. If an employee has fewer than the required hours (80 of accrued paid sick leave or 160 of combined leave), an employer must provide Marin COVID-19 PSL to make up the difference.
An employer may credit the total COVID-19 paid sick leave hours already provided to an employee under the FFCRA or Cal/OSHA regulations, as well as any substantially similar state or federal COVID-19 paid sick leave legislation that may be enacted in the future, against Marin COVID-19 PSL.
Qualifying COVID-19 Related Reasons
Marin COVID-19 PSL may be taken when an employee cannot work, or telework, because the employee:
- Has been advised by a health care provider to isolate or self-quarantine to prevent the spread of COVID-19;
- Is subject to a federal, state, or local quarantine or isolation order due to COVID-19;
- Is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and is seeking a medical diagnosis;
- Needs to care for an Individual who is subject to a federal, state, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19, or has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine related to COVID-19, or is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and is seeking a medical diagnosis;
- Needs to provide care for an Individual whose senior care provider or whose school or childcare provider is closed or unavailable in response to a public health or other public official’s recommendation;
- Is attending an appointment to receive a COVID-19 vaccine;
- Is experiencing symptoms related to a COVID-19 vaccine that prevent the employee from being able to work or telework.
Marin COVID-19 PSL is not available to employees that are able to work from home.
Employers may require employees to identify the qualifying reason for taking leave but cannot require employees to provide a doctor’s note or other supporting documentation.
Notice Posting Requirement
Employers must provide notice to employees of their rights under Marin COVID-19 PSL in a manner calculated to reach all employees, including posting a notice in the workplace, on any intranet or app-based platform or by e-mail. The County has not made a model notice available.
Marin COVID-19 PSL requires that for at least three years, employers keep a record of each employee’s name, hours worked, and pay rate.
Covered employers are encouraged to review their existing leave policies and determine whether revisions are necessary to meet the requirements of Marin COVID-19 PSL. Given the increased complexity of overlapping state, local and federal COVID-19 paid sick leave requirements, employers should continue to monitor developments and consult with employment counsel to update employer policies, as necessary.
- Marin County Urgency Ordinance
- Sequoia Foreword: