City of LA Publishes Paid Sick Leave Regulations

The City of Los Angeles has published regulations implementing its new minimum wage ordinance, which includes paid sick leave requirements, effective July 1, 2016. Employers with 25 or fewer employees are required to offer paid sick leave effective July 1, 2017.

The regulations clarify that employees who live in the City of LA and work from home are covered by the ordinance. An employee who works from a home that is outside of the City of LA is not covered by the ordinance, even if the employee works for a company based in Los Angeles (unless the employee also works within the City of LA).

Geographic boundaries of the City may be defined using http://zimas.lacity.org/ or http://neighborhoodinfo.lacity.org/.

There are various methods to track hours. The Office of Wage Standards requires that any method be accompanied by documentation that will serve as proof in case of audit.

The clock starts when an employee enters into the City, and the clock stops when the employee leaves the City.

Employers may select one of two methods of providing Sick Time Benefits:

  • Front-loading the entire 48 hours for the year; or
  • Accruing one hour of sick time for every 30 hours worked within the geographic boundaries of the City.

This is applicable for an employee who has been working in the City for the same employer for 30 days or more within a year from the start of employment.

An employee may meet the 30 day threshold requirement by working for 30 days or more for an employer during any 12-month period which occurs after commencement of employment. The year or 12-month period begins the first day the employee works in the City. If the employee has not worked a total of 30 days within that 12-month period, the employee does not qualify for Sick Time Benefits. Subsequently, if the employee begins working sporadically within the City again after the previous 12-month period, a new 12-month period begins for the purposes of accumulating 30 days worked to qualify for Sick Time Benefits. A day can be any increment of time worked within a 24-hour period in the City.

Employers may switch between the front-loading method and the accrual method only on an annual basis.

An employer who chooses to provide sick leave based on the front-loading method must select one type of anniversary, either at the beginning of each year of employment, calendar year, or 12-month period. At each anniversary date, an employer must provide all 48 hours to an employee.

Whichever method an Employer chooses to adopt, an employee may use sick leave on or after 90 days of the employment or July 1, 2016, whichever is later.

Unused paid sick time accrued by an employee, whether by front loading method or by accrual method, must carry over to the following year of employment and may be capped at a minimum of 72 hours. An employer may set a higher cap or no cap at all.

If an employee is rehired by an employer within one year of the date of separation from employment, previously accrued and unused Sick Time Benefits must be reinstated. However, if an employer compensates an employee for accrued and unused Sick Time Benefits upon separation from employment, the employer is not required to reinstate the employee’s paid out Sick Time Benefits if the employee is subsequently rehired.

If an employer is already providing paid time off or compensated time off, that is equal to 48 hours or more, no additional time is required.

An employer may not unreasonably deny an employee’s request to use accrued paid sick leave. An employer cannot deny an employee’s request to use sick time if the employee communicates the request more than one hour before the beginning of the employee’s shift in a manner consistent with employer’s normal method of communication.

An employee may determine how much paid sick leave he or she needs to use, provided that an employer may set a reasonable minimum increment, not to exceed two hours, for the use of paid sick leave.


John Garner

About John Garner

John Garner has over thirty five years of experience in employee benefits. He specializes in compliance, health care reform, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA), and the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA). He helps clients with life, health, and disability benefits, cost containment, flexible benefits, and claim consulting.

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