February 19, 2021

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Updates

State Updates


City of Los Angeles

Mayor Garcetti recently revised the Supplemental Paid Sick Leave (SPSL) Ordinance that was initially issued in April of last year. This order will be in effect until two calendar weeks after the expiration of the COVID-19 local emergency period. Changes include:

  • An employee who has been employed with the same employer for 60 days is entitled to SPSL. Previously, SPSL was limited to employees who had been employed between February 3, 2020 and March 4, 2020.
  • SPSL shall be calculated based on an employee’s average two week pay over the last 60 days of employment.

You can read the revised order here.

City of San Francisco – Public Health Emergency Leave Ordinance (PHELO)

A slightly updated version of PHELO has been passed by the Board of Supervisors and awaits Mayor Breed’s signature. If enacted, it will be retroactive to February 11, 2021 and will include some changes:

  • Certain non-profit organizations are excluded from having to comply with the ordinance. The exemption applies to nonprofits that do not engage in healthcare operations.
  • Employees would only be able to use PHELO for times when they are scheduled to work. Previously, employees could take leave regardless of whether and when they were scheduled to work.

We will keep you posted as to if and when Mayor Breed signs the updated version of the ordinance.

County of Sonoma

As we mentioned in our February 5, 2021 newsletter the Board of Supervisors passed an urgency ordinance extending the county’s emergency paid sick leave ordinance (EPSL). The Board made further changes at their February 9, 2021 meeting:

  • The ordinance now applies to all employers within the unincorporated areas of the County of Sonoma.
  • Employers must provide notice to employees of their rights under the ordinance.
  • Employers are only required to provide EPSL hours on a one-time basis and may credit hours already furnished to employees under similar state or federal COVID-19 paid sick leave legislation.

The latest rendition of the urgency ordinance is here.

We’ll keep you posted as to any further developments. For a refresher on the original ordinance please see refer to our August 29, 2021 newsletter.


Canada (Federal)

The Canada Employment Insurance (EI) regulations have been temporarily amended. The waiting period has been waived for employees with a new EI claim between January 31, 2021 and September 25, 2021. The waiting period was also waived for all EI claims established between September 27, 2020 and October 25, 2020. The waiver will be applied automatically to affected claims by Service Canada.


Amendments have been made to the Employment Standards Regulations. Effective February 5, 2021, job protection will extend to employees looking to access the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit and Caregiving Benefit due to certain COVID-19 related reasons. Specifically, it applies to employees who are absent from work due to illness, self-isolating or have an underlying health condition which makes them susceptible to COVID-19; or are providing care to a child or disabled family member. To qualify, employees must also be in receipt of, or will be applying for, the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit or the Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit. Employees must provide the employer with notice as far as possible in advance of being absent from work or returning to work. Employers are generally prohibited from taking discriminatory action against employees who are absent (regardless of an employee’s length of service).

For more COVID-19-related updates for Canada, please visit our website.

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