City of Santa Ana logoThe 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 immediately went into effect. The premium pay requirement will expire after 120 days.

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 entitled to premium pay 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