Santa Ana City Council Approves Premium Pay for Grocery and Retail Pharmacy Workers Facing Pandemic Risks

Date: March, 03 2021 Category: City Council, City Manager, Community Development, COVID-19, Notification, Planning and Building

The urgency ordinance’s additional $4-per-hour pay is in effect beginning March 3, 2021, for 120 days.

SANTA ANA, Calif. – The Santa Ana City Council has approved an ordinance establishing premium pay of an additional $4 per hour for grocery and retail pharmacy workers whose essential jobs put them at risk of contracting COVID-19.

The City Council voted 5-2 on Tuesday, March 2, 2021, to adopt the premium pay measure as an urgency ordinance, which means it could immediately go into effect and is set to expire after 120 days. The ordinance became effective on March 3, 2021, at 7 a.m. and will remain in effect through June 30, 2021, at 11:59 p.m.

Grocery and pharmacy employees are essential workers who perform services that are fundamental to the economy and health of the community during the COVID-19 crisis. They work in high-risk conditions with inconsistent access to protective equipment and other safety measures, work in public situations with limited ability to engage in physical distancing, and are continually exposed to the spread of disease.

Among the ordinance’s provisions:

  • The ordinance applies to certain grocery stores and retail pharmacies (“hiring entities”) that employ over 300 workers nationally and more than 15 employees per grocery store location or retail pharmacy location in Santa Ana.
  • A “grocery store” means a store that devotes 70 percent or more of its business to retailing a general range of food products, and/or a store that has at least 10,000 square feet of floor space dedicated to retailing a general range of food products.
  • “Retail pharmacy” means a corporate or chain (three or more locations nationally) pharmacy or publicly-traded company that is licensed as a pharmacy by the State of California and that dispenses medications to the general public at retail prices.
  • The ordinance requires hiring entities to provide each designated worker with premium pay consisting of an additional $4 cash per hour for each hour worked.
  • For the purposes of the ordinance, “designated worker” means a grocery worker or retail pharmacy worker employed by a hiring entity who is required to pay premium pay wages pursuant to the ordinance.
  • If a grocery store or retail pharmacy already provides hourly premium pay in accordance with the ordinance, such compensation may be credited toward the additional $4 per hour of premium.
  • The ordinance requires premium pay for designated workers for 120 days, beginning on the effective date of the ordinance.
  • Grocery stores and retail pharmacies must advise their employees of their rights under the ordinance, including their right to premium pay guaranteed by the ordinance.
  • A designated worker that suffers financial injury as a result of a violation of the ordinance or is the subject of retaliation may bring a civil action in a court of competent jurisdiction against the hiring entity or other person violating the ordinance.

Read the ordinance at https://bit.ly/2MKMLpt.

Questions and Answers

What is the "premium pay" requirement?

 

The ordinance requires hiring entities to provide each designated worker with premium pay consisting of an additional $4 wage per hour for each hour worked.

  • For the purposes of the ordinance, “designated worker” means a grocery worker or retail pharmacy worker employed by a hiring entity who is required to pay premium pay wages pursuant to the ordinance.

 

Which grocery stores and retail pharmacies does this ordinance apply to?

 

The ordinance applies to certain grocery stores and retail pharmacies (“hiring entities”) which employ over 300 workers nationally and more than 15 employees per grocery store location or retail pharmacy location in Santa Ana.

  • A “grocery store” means a store that devotes 70 percent or more of its business to retailing a general range of food products, and/or a store that has at least 15,000 square feet of floor space dedicated to retailing a general range of food products.
  • “Retail pharmacy” means a corporate or chain (three or more locations nationally) pharmacy or publicly-traded company that is licensed as a pharmacy by the State of California and that dispenses medications to the general public at retail prices.

 

What if the grocery store or retail pharmacy already provides premium pay?

 

If a grocery store or retail pharmacy already provides premium pay wages, those wages may be credited toward the additional $4 per hour of premium pay.

  • For example, if an grocery store currently pays its employees $2 per hour in premium pay wages, the ordinance will require that grocery store to pay an additional $2 per hour to comply with the $4 per hour premium pay wage requirement.
     
  • Here is another example: If a grocery store currently pays its employees $4 per hour in premium pay wages and complies with all other provisions of the ordinance (such as noticing requirements or non-retaliation), that grocery store will have complied with the premium pay requirements and will not have to pay any additional premium pay wages. 

 

How long is the ordinance in effect?

 

The ordinance requires premium pay for designated workers for (120) days, beginning on the effective date of the ordinance. 

 

When is the ordinance in effect?

The ordinance became effective on March 3, 2021 at 7 a.m. and will remain in effect through June 30, 2021 at 11:59 p.m.

How will employees be notified if they qualify for premium pay?

 

Grocery stores and retail pharmacies must advise their employees of their rights under the ordinance, including their right to premium pay guaranteed by the ordinance.

 

What action can an employee take if they do not receive premium pay or experience retaliation from their employer?

 

A designated worker that suffers financial injury as a result of a violation of the ordinance or is the subject of retaliation may bring a civil action in a court of competent jurisdiction against the hiring entity or other person violating the ordinance.

 

Where can I find out more information about the ordinance?

 

The staff report, which introduces and summarizes the ordinance, is available on our website. The ordinance is also available on our website. 

Read the Staff Report

Read the Ordinance