On 9 March 2021, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors unanimously approved San Francisco’s COVID Related Hazard Pay Emergency Ordinance, which temporarily requires large grocery and retail pharmacy stores and the janitorial and security contractors that work on-site at those stores to provide an extra USD5.00 of hazard pay per hour to workers (up to a total wage of USD35.00 per hour). The Ordinance took effect on 22 March 2021 and will remain in effect until 19 May 2021, unless it is re-enacted or the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency is terminated.

The Ordinance only applies to certain large employers that employ 500 or more employees worldwide and have at least 20 employees that work on-site at a general grocery, specialty grocery or retail location with a pharmacy.

Covered employers must provide an additional USD5.00 per hour in Hazard Pay to all covered workers for every hour that they are paid less than USD35.00.

Meanwhile a federal district court judge in Washington State ruled that a Seattle ordinance to provide hazard pay to grocery workers during the pandemic can take effect, dismissing a legal challenge filed by industry groups. Seattle’s ordinance provides a USD4.00 increase in pay to workers in grocery stores with at least 500 workers worldwide. The Northwest Grocery Association and the Washington Food Industry Association had sought an emergency order blocking the ordinance.

Similar lawsuits challenging hazard pay ordinances have been filed against a number of cities in California.