Redwood City and San Carlos consider mandating hazard pay at large grocery stores

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Redwood City and San Carlos are considering joining San Mateo and South San Francisco in requiring large grocery stores to provide hazard pay to their workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The suggestion appears on both the council agendas for meetings taking place next week in Redwood City and San Carlos. In both cases, there will be no vote but rather a discussion during which the councils may direct staff to investigate the proposal further before bringing it to council for a formal vote.

On Monday, San Mateo City Council passed an emergency ordinance requiring employees of large grocery stores or pharmacies to be paid an additional $5 hourly wage due to the risks of COVID-19 exposure. The San Mateo ordinance, which will be in effect for several months, applies to grocery or drug retailers with at least 750 employees nationwide that dedicate at least 10 percent of their space to grocery sales.

Redwood City’s proposal also includes $5 per hour in hazard pay. Berkeley, Los Angeles, Long Beach, San Jose, and San Leandro are other California cities that have moved since December to require hazard pay for essential grocery workers while COVID-19 case rates put them at higher risk.

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