In November 2014, Oakland voters passed Measure FF, which went into effect on March 2, 2015, and made changes to the City’s minimum wage, paid sick leave laws and hospitality service charges.
Minimum Wage Increase
Effective March 2, 2015, the minimum wage in Oakland was raised from $9.00/hour to $12.25/hour for any employee who performs at least two hours of work within Oakland in a workweek. This law applies to full-time, part-time, temporary and seasonal employees.
Paid Sick Leave
As of March 2, 2015, employers must pay paid sick leave for employees who were employed on or before that date. Employers are permitted to restrict paid sick leave for employees hired after March 2, 2015; employers can opt not to allow these employees to use any accrued paid sick leave until their 90th calendar day of employment.
As with the increased minimum wage, the new law requires employers to provide sick leave to any employee who performs at least two hours of work within Oakland in a workweek. At a minimum, employees must accrue 1 hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked. Employers may cap the maximum accrual at 40 hours (employers with fewer than 10 employees) or at 72 hours (employers with 10 or more employees). Employers may choose to exceed these minimums and provide their employees with more paid sick leave.
Paid sick leave is distinct from paid time off (PTO) and vacation time in two important respects: (1) although an employee’s accrued paid sick leave carries over from year to year, it is not paid out at the time of separation of employment, and (2) employees may use their accrued paid sick leave for their own medical care or to aid or care for a family member or designated person, not simply for any reason at all.
Similar to Oakland’s paid sick leave law, California passed the Healthy Workplace Healthy Family Act of 2014 (AB 1522), which will also require employers to provide paid sick leave for qualifying employees. An article on California’s Healthy Workplace Healthy Family Act of 2014 can be found here.
The new law also requires that Oakland’s hospitality employers (employers who own, operate or control hotels, restaurants and banquet facilities in Oakland) that collect service charges from customers must pay all of those charges to the hospitality workers who performed the services for which the charges were collected. Hospitality employers may not keep any part of the service charge. Supervisors and managers are only entitled to a portion of the service charge for the time spent on nonsupervisory work serving customers, and the rate paid to supervisors or managers cannot be higher than the rate paid to hospitality workers for similar duties.
Lastly, Oakland employers are required to prepare and distribute notices to employees of these new laws. Notices addressing Measure FF’s provisions can be found here.