Employee Resources

County Extension of the Federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) Benefits

Effective April 6, 2021

Published:  April 7, 2021

The County of Sonoma is committed to supporting employees during this pandemic emergency.  This information provides a summary of new and expanded COVID-19 leave benefits provided by the State and the County’s Board of Supervisors.

PLEASE NOTE: There are different time periods for use of Emergency Family and Medical Leave Act (EFMLEA) and the new Supplemental Paid Sick Leave (SPSL).

  • Expanded EFMLEA is available for use April 1, 2021 – June 28, 2021. 
  • Use of SPSL applies January 1, 2021 – September 30, 2021.

New Supplemental Paid Sick Leave (SPSL) Benefits, and County Extension and Expansion of Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act (EFMLEA) Benefits

FFCRA is a federal law that went into effect on April 1, 2020. FFCRA provided paid leave benefits for leaves taken related to the Coronavirus public health emergency, through December 31, 2020. 

On January 5, 2021, the County’s Board of Supervisors extended the paid leave benefits provided under FFCRA through March 31, 2021.  The extension applied to benefits provided under the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act (EFMLEA) and Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (EPSL). 

EPSL expired on March 31, 2021.  On April 6, 2021, the Board  extended and expanded EFMLEA benefits, and approved the implementation plan for the State’s new Supplemental Paid Sick Leave (SPSL) benefit that became effective March 29, 2021. 

California Supplemental Paid Sick Leave (SPSL):   Effective Jan. 1 - Sept. 30, 2021

On March 19, 2021, Governor Newsom signed new legislation requiring employers to provide up to 80 hours of supplemental paid sick leave (SPSL) for employees to use for specified COVID-19 related reasons, retroactively from January 1, 2021 through September 30, 2021.  Below is information on SPSL benefit eligibility, hours, qualifying reasons, pay, and process for requesting SPSL leave.

  • Eligibility: No waiting period for eligibility for SPSL hours. New employees are eligible upon starting employment.
  • Hours of Leave: For part-time and extra-help employees, the number of SPSL hours provided are pro-rated based on average hours worked over a 6 month lookback period.
  • Qualifying Reasons for SPSL Leave: SPSL hours are available between January 1, 2021 and September 30, 2021, for employees who are unable to work or telework due to one of the following reasons:
    1. Employee is subject to a Federal, State, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19;
    2. Employee has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine related to COVID-19;
    3. Employee is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and is seeking a medical diagnosis;
    4. Employee is seeking or awaiting the results of a COVID test or medical diagnosis, if the employee has been exposed or the employee’s employer has requested the test or diagnosis;
    5. Employee is obtaining COVID-19 immunization (vaccination) or recovering from an injury, disability, illness, or condition related to such immunization;
    6. Employee is caring for an individual[1]subject to a Federal, State, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19; or an individual who has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID-19; or
    7. Employee is caring for a child whose school or place of care is closed or partially closed (or childcare provider is unavailable) for reasons related to COVID-19, and no other suitable person is available to care for the child during the period of such leave.[2]
  • Rate of Pay: If you are a non-exempt employee with a schedule that varies in the number of hours you work per week, your SPSL rate of pay will be the higher of the regular rate of pay for the work week in which the leave is taken, or your regular rate of pay based on a 90-day lookback, whichever is higher (this is different from EPSL rate, which was based on a six-month lookback).  For exempt employees, the rate of pay will be equal to your normal wage rate.
  • Using SPSL Hours: SPSL hours are applied in the same manner as accrued sick leave hours for the purposes of medical benefit eligibility, cash allowance, merit, seniority, premiums and overtime. Employees determine the number of hours to apply toward a qualifying leave. All SPSL hours must be used before receiving OSHA Emergency Leave or temporary disability pay through a workers’ compensation claim for an employee’s own COVID-19 illness.
  • TimeSaver: SPSL hours will be loaded to an employee’s leave “bucket” once the employee requests to use the leave, and unused hours will be deleted at the end of the program (9/30/2021).

    Requesting SPSL Leave:

    As with any leave, notify your supervisor that you will be taking leave time and, to ensure timely processing, email your payroll clerk and the following information:

    • Date the leave is requested to be taken, or is planned to be used;
    • Qualifying reason for the leave; and
    • Number of SPSL hours to be applied.   

    Employees can also request to apply SPSL retroactively to qualifying leave taken between January 1, 2021 and March 31, 2021. Email your Payroll Clerk with the same information listed above and request to have SPSL leave applied.  SPSL may also be requested by calling your payroll clerk, if necessary, however, use of email will greatly help payroll staff with processing your request accurately and quickly, and to be able to quickly follow-up with you if additional information is needed.

    Extension/Expansion of Emergency Family and Medical Leave Act (EFMLEA): Effective April 1, 2021

    The County is now providing a total of up to 12-weeks of partially (2/3) paid leave under the County’s extended FMLEA benefits, for use through June 28, 2021.  (The benefit previously was capped at 10-weeks of 2/3 paid leave with a 2-week waiting period.)  The County also expanded the qualifying reasons for use of EFMLEA.  Employees are now eligible to apply for and receive benefits as follows:

    • Leave is available to employees who have been employed for at least 30 calendar days at the time of application for benefits.
        • If you are a new employee, you may not yet be eligible, but would qualify when you hit the 30-day mark.
        • Extra-help employees who have worked for the County within 30 days of applying for benefits may also qualify for EFMLEA benefits, if work is available.
        • For part-time and extra-help employees, the County will use a 90-day look-back period to determine average hours worked and leaves used, for purposes of determining and applying 2/3 pay.
      • No Waiting Period: Previously, employees enrolled in EFMLEA had a 2-week waiting period to receive pay benefits. As of April 1, 2021, there is no waiting period.
      • Qualifying leave reasons are expanded to include all of the following:
          • Employee is subject to a Federal, State, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19;
          • Employee has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine related to COVID-19;
          • Employee is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and is seeking a medical diagnosis;
          • Employee is seeking or awaiting the results of a COVID test or medical diagnosis, if the employee has been exposed or the employee’s employer has requested the test or diagnosis;
          • Employee is obtaining COVID-19 immunization (vaccination) or recovering from an injury, disability, illness, or condition related to such immunization;
          • Employee is caring for an individual subject to an order a Federal, State, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19, or has been advised to self-quarantine by a health care provider for reasons related to COVID-19; or
          • Employee is caring for a child whose school or place of care is closed or partially closed (or childcare provider is unavailable) for reasons related to COVID-19, and no other suitable person is available to care for the child during the period of such leave.
        • The leave is paid at a rate of 2/3rds of an employee’s FLSA regular rate of pay.
          • The County will pay 2/3 of an employee’s daily hours at the employee’s base wage or the FLSA regular rate of pay, whichever is higher.
          • Employees can elect (at the time of application) to supplement the 2/3 pay with accrued sick, vacation, SPSL, and comp hours to meet the employee’s full FTE.
          • If an employee is scheduled to work an alternative shift or a schedule that allows them to work, including as a Disaster Services Worker, EFMLEA pay and supplementing accruals will not be recorded.
        • Eligibility for the program, and the number of weeks of paid leave received, are based on the number of Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) hours used by the employee in the prior 12 months.  The total amount of EFMLEA leave available is capped at 12 weeks between April 1, 2020 and June 28, 2021.   The amount of FMLA hours used in the preceding 12 months will off-set the amount of leave and pay benefits received by the employee.
          • For instance, if no FMLA or EFMLEA hours were used in the prior 12 months, the employee receives 12 weeks of paid leave, paid at 2/3rds of their regular rate of pay.  If an employee has used 6 weeks of FMLA in the preceding 12 months, then 6 weeks of EFMLEA paid leave are available, paid at 2/3rds of their regular rate of pay.
        • FMLA hours are calculated on a “rolling calendar” basis and not based on a calendar year. An employee who has exhausted their FMLA entitlement at the time they apply for EFMLEA benefits may qualify at a later date. Employees should consult their department payroll clerk regarding available FMLA and EFMLEA hours.
        • If you are already enrolled in EFMLEA, the additional 2 weeks of EFMLEA hours will automatically be added to your leave balance.
        • If you have already enrolled in EFMLEA, the additional 2 weeks of EFMLEA hours will automatically be added to your leave balance (53.3 hours for 1.0 FTE), however, to use hours for any of the expanded reasons, you will need to submit and new leave request form (located on the County’s Employee Resources website).
        • If you are a new enrollee for EFMLEA benefits, complete the EFMLEA Leave Request form, located on the County’s Employee Resources website. (Employees must complete a separate form for each qualifying reason.)

        For additional information on these programs, contact your department payroll clerk or department human resources professional.


        [1] Includes an employee’s immediate family member, a person who regularly resides in the employee’s home, or a similar person with whom the employee has a relationship that creates an expectation that the employee would care for the person if the individual were quarantined or self-quarantined.

        [2] It is unclear whether SPSL is limited only to instances where a school is closed due COVID-19 on the premises. The County has broaden the allowable use to match EFMLEA. The broader language the County is applying is supported by the legislative background of SB 95 and recommendations by legal counsel.

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