Los Angeles City Supplemental Paid Sick Leave Signed into Law

On March 27, 2020, the Los Angeles City Council passed an ordinance that Mayor Eric Garcetti signed into law on April 7, 2020.  This supplemental paid leave ordinance is targeting larger employers with employees working within the geographic boundaries of the City of Los Angeles.

Which employers are affected? An employer that has either 500 or more employees within the City of Los Angeles or 2,000 or more employees within the United States.

For those with 2,000 or more employees within the US, it applies to employers that employ workers in LA.

Notably, if a collective bargaining agreement is in place as of April 7, 2020, that does not address COVID-19 related sick leave, the employer must comply with the order until the agreement is amended to expressly waive the terms.

When is this paid sick leave effective? April 7, 2020. It expires two weeks after the expiration of the COVID-19 local emergency period.

Are there exemptions? Yes, there are six exemptions for which an employer above may qualify.

  1. Emergency and health services personnel.
  2. Critical parcel delivery employees.
  3. Employers who have a paid leave or paid time off policy that provides a minimum of 160 hours of paid leave annually.
  4. New businesses that started in the City or relocated to the City on or after September 4, 2019 through March 4, 2020.
  5. Government employees.
  6. Closed businesses and organizations—any business or organization that was closed or not operating for a period of 14 or more days due to a city official’s emergency order because of the COVID-19 pandemic or provided at least 14 days of leave shall be exempt from the Order.

Which employees may apply for the supplemental paid sick leave? An employee who has been employed with the employer from Feb. 3, 2020 through March, 4, 2020, and performs any work within the geographic boundaries of LA.

What are the qualifying reasons for an employee being granted this paid sick leave? The employee must be unable to work or telework for one of the four qualifying reasons listed below:

  1. The employee takes time off due to COVID-19 infection or because a public health official or healthcare provider requires or recommends the employee isolate or self-quarantine to prevent the spread of COVID-19;
  2. The employee takes time off work because the employee is at least 65 years old or has a health condition such as heart disease, asthma, lung disease, diabetes, kidney disease, or weakened immune system;
  3. The employee takes time off work because the employee needs to care for a family member who is not sick but who public health officials or healthcare providers have required or recommended isolation or self-quarantine; or
  4. The employee takes time off work because the employee needs to provide care for a family member whose senior care provider or whose school or child care provider caring for a child under the age of 18 temporarily ceases operations in response to a public health or other public official’s recommendation. This provision is only applicable to an employee who is unable to secure a reasonable alternative caregiver.

What documentation can the employer request to grant leave for these qualifying reasons? This leave must be granted upon oral or written request and no doctor’s note or other documentation is required.

Can an employer offset the amount of paid sick leave under this ordinance? Yes. The employer’s obligation to provide 80 hours of paid sick leave for this ordinance is reduced for every hour an employer allowed an employee to take paid leave in an amount equal to or greater than the requirements of this ordinance, not including previously accrued hours, after March 4, 2020, for any reasons set forth above in response to an employee’s inability to work due to COVID-19.

This supplemental paid sick leave ordinance is in addition to California/Los Angeles mandated paid sick leave.

Amount of Leave: If an employee is unable to work or telework, they are entitled to leave as follows:

  1. An employee who works at least 40 hours per week or is classified as a full-time employee by the employer shall receive 80 hours of supplemental paid sick leave. Supplemental paid sick leave shall be calculated based on an employee’s average two week pay over the period of February 3, 2020 through March 4, 2020.
  2. An employee who works less than 40 hours per week and is not classified as a full-time employee by the employer shall receive supplemental paid sick leave in an amount no greater than the employee’s average two week pay over the period of February 3, 2020 through March 4, 2020.

In no event shall the supplemental paid sick leave amount paid to an employee exceed $511 per day and $5,110 in the aggregate.

The full text of the ordinance can be found here.

About Michelle Cammayo

Michelle Cammayo has more than 13 years of Employee Benefits experience specializing in all lines of health and welfare benefits. Today, Michelle works closely with clients and partners to provide guidance in areas of the law including ERISA, HIPAA, COBRA, FMLA and PPACA. She also oversees the Compliance Department at Bolton & Company to ensure we are helping our clients manage and eliminate risk with regards to employee benefit compliance.

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