The Spread Of Hero Pay Continues

Jackson Lewis P.C.
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Despite the California Grocers Association lawsuits pending against four cities over hero pay ordinances, more cities and counties have passed or are considering premium pay ordinances for grocery store and similar workers. The laws all vary in both scope and applicability so affected employers with locations throughout California should be mindful of the distinctions. Of the laws passed, some are effective immediately, others are effective after 30 days and in South San Francisco it is retroactive.

Thus far the following localities have passed premium pay ordinances in response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic:

Location Covered Employers Amount
Berkeley

Grocery stores that employ 300 or more employees in the state of California

$5.00
Coachella

Agricultural operations, grocery stores, restaurants, and retail pharmacy that employee 300 or more employees nationally and 5 employees per location in the city of Coachella

$4.00
Irvine

Retail establishments including grocery stores, drug stores, or certain large retail stores that employ 20 or more employees at the location and who employ 500 or more employees nationally.

$4.00
Long Beach

Grocery stores that employ 300 or more employees nationally and employ more than 15 employees per location in the City

$4.00

County of Los Angeles

(applies to unincorporated areas only)

Grocery stores and employ 300 or more employees nationally and employ more than 10 employees per location.

$5.00
Montebello

Grocery stores and drug stores that employee over 300 employees or more nationally and 15 employees per store within the City

$4.00
Oakland

Grocery stores that employ 500 or more employees nationally.

$5.00
San Jose

Grocery stores that employ 300 or more employees nationally.

$3.00
San Leandro

Retail food establishments that employ 300 or more employees nationally.

$5.00

County of Santa Clara

(applies to unincorporated areas only)

Grocery and drugstores that either (a) employs 300 or more employees nationally and 15 or more employees in the unincorporated areas of the county, or (b) is a franchise that is associated with a Franchisor that employees more than 300 employees nationally and operates at least 10 locations in California

$5.00
South San Francisco

Large Grocery Store or Large Drugstore that employs 500 or more employees nationwide

$5.00*

*Notably this increase is retroactive

West Hollywood

Grocery stores that employ 300 or more employees nationally and 15 employees per location in the City.

$5.00

While the ordinances proceed forward, so too do the lawsuits against some of the cities that were the early adopters. On February 25, 2021, the judge presiding over the lawsuit against the City of Long Beach denied the California Grocers Association’s (“CGA”) request for a preliminary injunction against the city’s ordinance. CGA has appealed the decision. If reversed on appeal, it would mean that covered employers would not be required to comply with the ordinance until a final decision was made in the case.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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