On March 9, 2021, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors approved the COVID-Related Hazard Pay Ordinance, which became effective March 22, 2021.

The ordinance applies to "General Grocery, Specialty Grocery, or Pharmacy" businesses (excluding pharmacies that are part of a hospital or health service) with 500 or more employees worldwide, and at least 20 employees in San Francisco. As a result of the ordinance, these stores would be required to pay employees in San Francisco an additional $5 per hour (up to $35 per hour) during the public health emergency related to COVID-19.

The ordinance defines employees who are covered by it as "any person providing labor or services … on-site at a retail sales and service use that operates any General Grocery, Specialty Grocery, or Pharmacy." A contractor or sub-contractor that provides janitorial and security services to any of the covered businesses is also covered by the ordinance.

The "Employer-Initiated Hazard Pay" is defined as premium pay rate to compensate employees for "the hardships and risks associated with working during the COVID-19 pandemic." This ordinance expires on the 61st day following enactment, unless reenacted, or upon the termination of the local health emergency, whichever occurs first.

It is a $5 per hour wage bonus in addition to the base wage, including any premium pay applicable at the time and any wage enhancement in effect for each hour worked (or for salaried employees, for 40 hours per week).

Beginning on the effective date of the emergency ordinance, employers are required to pay hazard pay to all employees whose base wage plus any wage enhancement (overtime or holiday pay) is less than $35 per hour.

A notice has been published on the Office of Labor Standards Enforcement "OLSE" site. Employers are required to post this notice where employees can easily read it. The ordinance expressly prohibits any retaliation related to this emergency ordinance.

The facts, laws, and regulations regarding COVID-19 are developing rapidly. Since the date of publication, there may be new or additional information not referenced in this advisory. Please consult with your legal counsel for guidance.

DWT will continue to provide up-to-date insights and virtual events regarding COVID-19 concerns. Our most recent insights, as well as information about recorded and upcoming virtual events, are available at www.dwt.com/COVID-19.