Publication Details

Special Alert: City of Los Angeles Enacts Supplemental Paid Sick Leave Ordinance for COVID-19 Purposes, and the Department of Labor Issues Further COVID-19 Resources

Apr 8, 2020 | Related Attorney Michael S. Kalt | Topic: Employment

Los Angeles’ Supplemental Paid Sick Leave Ordinance

On April 7, 2020, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti issued an Executive Order essentially modifying and then enacting (albeit replacing) the Supplemental Paid Sick Leave Ordinance passed by the Los Angeles City Council on March 27, 2020.  The now-effective Order (and original Ordinance) is intended to largely mirror and supplement the federal Families First Coronvirus Response Act’s (FFCRA) provisions regarding Emergency Paid Sick Leave, while expanding it to the employers exempted from the FFCRA (i.e., those with 500 or more employees).  In this regard, the Los Angeles Supplemental Paid Sick Leave is consistent with the FFCRA in requiring covered employers provide up to 80 hours of supplemental paid sick leave for full-time employees (with different amounts for part-time employees) with the supplemental paid sick leave being up to $511 per day and $5,110 in the aggregate.

However, while the Supplemental Paid Sick Leave Order includes the same bases for leave as the FFCRA (e.g., quarantine orders, care for self or family members, care for children home to school/day care closures), it also allows this Supplemental Paid Sick Leave to be used for two additional purposes: (1) 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; and (2) in addition to caring for children under the age of 18 because of a school or child care provider closure, the employee’s family member needs care because a senior care provider is closed. 

Notably, Mayor Garcetti’s Order scaled back the definition of “employer” in the Los Angeles Ordinance to soften the economic impact upon employers affected by COVID-19 closures.  Accordingly, the now-effective Order only applies to employers with either:  (1) 500 or more employees within the City of Los Angeles; or (2) 2,000 employees within the United States (whereas the originally passed Ordinance would have applied to any employers with 500 or more employees regardless of where employed).  The Mayor’s Order also specifically exempts from the Supplemental Paid Sick Leave Requirements (e.g. up to 80 hours for full-time employees) the following categories of employees or employers:

  • Emergency and Health Service Personnel (as defined);
  • Critical Parcel Delivery (i.e., employers providing “global parcel delivery services”);
  • Employers already providing more than 160 hours of paid leave annually;
  • New Businesses (as defined, but generally including businesses that started in or relocated to the City of Los Angeles after September 4, 2019);
  • Government Agencies; and
  • Closed Businesses and Organizations (as defined, but generally including businesses or organizations closed or not operating for 14 or more days to a city official’s COVID-19 emergency order).

The Ordinance also prohibits retaliation, and identifies various remedies, including reinstatement, back pay and Supplemental Paid Sick Leave, and reasonable attorneys’ fees.

The full text of the now-effective Los Angeles Supplemental Paid Sick Leave Order is available at:  

https://www.lamayor.org/sites/g/files/wph446/f/page/file/SUPPLEMENTALPAIDSICKLEAVE.pdf

Additional Department of Labor Resources

Although the federal FFCRA  took effect on April 1, 2020 (albeit with enforcement initially stayed until April 17, 2020), the Department of Labor (DOL) continues to update its website with FFCRA resources. 

For instance, the DOL has updated its FFCRA-related FAQs, including adding new questions 60-79 regarding when employees are entitled to Emergency Paid Sick Leave or Emergency Medical Leave, how to calculate the payments for these new leaves, and DOL enforcement.  https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/pandemic/ffcra-questions.

The DOL has also posted on its website the FFCRA posters in additional languages (Chinese, Korean, Tagalog, Thai and Vietnamese).  While the FFCRA only requires the English version be posted, these may still be a helpful resource for clients with employees whose primary language is other than English, or to ensure compliance with any potentially applicable local orders requiring federal notices be posted in different languages.  These additional posters are available for download at:  https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/pandemic

Lastly, on April 6th, the Federal Register published the final version of the now-effective FFCRA regulations.  These regulations appear substantively identical to the previously issued Interim Regulations, but may be easier to review, and are available at https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/FR-2020-04-06/pdf/2020-07237.pdf

Do you have questions about how this update may affect you?  For further information contact:

Emily J. Fox (efox@wilsonturnerkosmo.com)

Lois M. Kosch (lkosch@wilsonturnerkosmo.com

Michael Kalt (mkalt@wilsonturnerkosmo.com)

Wilson Turner Kosmo’s Special Alerts are intended to update our valued clients on significant developments in the law as they occur. This should not be considered legal advice.