Oakland – Today the Oakland City Council voted unanimously to pass the Emergency Paid Sick Leave For Oakland Employees measure introduced by Councilmember Sheng Thao and her colleagues Councilmembers Fortunato Bas, Kalb, and Taylor. This ordinance was written in partnership with East Bay for A Sustainable Economy and other key stakeholders.
“The COVID-19 crisis has exposed the deep flaws in our economic system and leaves thousands of essential workers at risk,” explained Councilmember Sheng Thao, “this ordinance will ensure every full time worker has 80 hours of sick pay compensated at their normal wage level so if they are exposed to COVID-19 they can take the time to get better without financial hardship. By allowing workers exposed to COVID-19 to self-isolate without fear of financial hardship, this ordinance will also slow the spread of the virus”
The new Emergency Paid Sick Leave For Oakland Employees measure will immediately go into effect, helping thousands of essential workers protect their health, their communities, and their families. While expanding protections for workers, Councilmember Thao was mindful to not place an undue burden on businesses. The Chamber of Commerce, the Jobs and Housing Coalition, and the African American, Chinatown, Vietnamese, and Hispanic Chambers of Commerce were consulted. The ordinance exempts businesses with fewer than 50 employees, protecting Oakland’s most vulnerable businesses. Businesses offering 160 hours of paid personal leave, and ensuring that workers have access to 80 hours of leave immediately, are also exempt from the ordinance.
As we continue to work through the COVID-19 crisis Councilmember Thao will be introducing a Right to Recall ordinance to guarantee Oakland workers the right to return or be rehired by their employers who laid them off because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We are facing an unprecedented public health emergency and economic downturn and our role as policymakers is to ensure our workers are not only protected from this pandemic but have their jobs and livelihoods protected as well,” said Councilmember Thao, “This is why I have been fighting hard for these two important pieces of legislation and why I am so thankful that my colleagues on the Council saw the importance of our Paid Sick Leave ordinance.”
About Oakland Councilmember Sheng Thao
Councilmember Sheng Thao was elected in 2018 to represent Oakland’s District 4, and is the first Hmong American Councilwoman in the State of California. CM Thao is also the 1st VP for the API Caucus of the League of Cities and a Board Member of Women Lead.