City of Los Angeles Enacts Modified Supplemental Paid Sick Leave Ordinance and New “Worker Protection Order”
Effectively immediately, the City of Los Angeles has enacted Supplemental Paid Sick Leave, subject to numerous modifications from the initial proposal, including narrowing the application
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti also issued a Worker Protection Order applying to all businesses/services that are exempt under certain subsections of Paragraph 5(vii) of the City of Los Angeles Safer At Home Emergency Order
Effective April 10, 2020, the Worker Protection Order mandates that employers require employees to wear face coverings provided at the employer’s expense, among other provisions
Effective Immediately: City of Los Angeles Supplemental Paid Sick Leave Due To COVID-19
On April 1, 2020, we issued an alert advising that the Los Angeles City Council proposed a Supplemental Paid Sick Leave ordinance that would apply to all employees working for employers with 500 or more employees nationally. On April 7, 2020, City of Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti signed the ordinance into law, but made numerous modifications to the City Council’s proposal, including narrowing the application of the local Supplemental Paid Sick Leave ordinance significantly. The “Supplemental Paid Sick Leave Due to COVID-19 Ordinance” becomes effective immediately and will remain in effect until two calendar weeks after the expiration of the COVID-19 local emergency period.
WHICH EMPLOYERS MUST PROVIDE SUPPLEMENTAL PAID SICK LEAVE?
In a significant narrowing of the City Council’s proposed ordinance, which applied to all employers with more than 500 employees nationally, the enacted ordinance provides supplemental paid sick leave to employees who perform work within the boundaries of the City of Los Angeles for 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.
The ordinance, however, exempts certain employers, including:
- Emergency and health service personnel
- Critical parcel delivery
- New businesses (defined as “businesses that started in the City or businesses that relocated from outside the City on or after September 4, 2019 through March 4, 2020. To qualify, an Employer could not have been in business in the City in the 2018 tax year (film producers and certain construction business are exempt from this exemption))
- Government agencies
- Closed businesses and organizations (defined as “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”)
Employers who have a paid leave or paid time off policy that provides a minimum of 160 hours of paid leave annually are also exempt from providing supplemental paid sick leave under the ordinance.
WHICH EMPLOYEES ARE ENTITLED TO SUPPLEMENTAL PAID LEAVE? HOW MUCH LEAVE MUST AN EMPLOYER PROVIDE UNDER THE ORDINANCE?
An employee who has been employed with the same employer from February 3, 2020 through March 4, 2020 is entitled to supplemental paid sick leave under the ordinance if the employee is unable to work or telework, as follows:
- 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.
- 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.
WHEN MAY AN EMPLOYEE USE SUPPLEMENTAL PAID SICK LEAVE?
An employer shall provide supplemental paid sick leave upon the oral or written request of an employee if:
- The employee takes time off due to COVID-19 infection or because a public health official or health care provider requires or recommends the employee isolate or self-quarantine to prevent the spread of COVID-19
- 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
- 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 health care providers have required or recommended isolation or self-quarantine
- 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 childcare 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)
An employer may not require a doctor’s note or other documentation for the use of supplemental paid sick leave.
HOW IS PAY CALCULATED UNDER THE ORDINANCE?
The ordinance caps employee pay at $511 per day and $5,110 in the aggregate. The ordinance also makes clear that employees of joint employers are only entitled to the total aggregate amount of leave specified for employees of one employer.
HOW DOES SUPPLEMENTAL PAID SICK LEAVE WORK WITH OTHER TYPES OF PAID LEAVE?
An employer’s obligation to provide supplemental paid sick leave under this ordinance shall be reduced for every hour an employer allowed an employee to take paid leave on or after March 4, 2020, for any of the reasons described above.
Supplemental paid sick leave under this ordinance runs concurrently with any leave/benefits being provided under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). Otherwise, the provisions of the ordinance are independent of any other paid leave benefit. Thus, supplemental paid sick leave must be provided in addition to any state or local required paid sick leave benefit.
City of Los Angeles Worker Protection Order (Effective April 10, 2020)
Also on April 7, 2020, Mayor Garcetti issued a Worker Protection Order applying to all workers who work at businesses or perform services that are exempt under certain subsections of Paragraph 5(vii) of the City of Los Angeles Safer At Home Emergency Order (“covered businesses”).
The Mayor’s Worker Protection Order goes into effect Friday, April 10, 2020 at 12:01 a.m. Requirements are as follows:
- Employees working for covered businesses “must wear face coverings over their noses and mouths while performing their work.”
- Covered businesses “must provide, at their expense, non-medical grade face coverings to their employees.”
- Covered businesses “must permit employees to wash their hands at least every 30 minutes.”
- Covered Businesses must “ensure that their employees have access to clean, sanitary restrooms, stocked with all necessary cleansing products; or sanitizing agents required to observe hand sanitation protocols recommended by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, provided at the employer’s expense.”
- Covered businesses ”must implement social distancing measures for customers, visitors, and employees that provides a six-foot buffer, to the extent possible, between individuals.”
- “All customers and visitors … must wear face coverings over their noses and mouths to provide additional protection for employees and customers. At this time, the face coverings need not be medical-grade masks or N95 respirators.”
- Businesses “may refuse admission or service to any individual who fails to wear face coverings as required by this Order.”
The order clarifies that, at this time, the face coverings “need not be medical-grade masks or N95 respirators, but can be fabric coverings, such as scarves and bandana coverings. All essential, non-medical workers required to wear these face coverings must frequently (at least once a day) wash any reusable face coverings, for the health and safety of themselves and others. Single-use face coverings must be properly discarded into trash receptacles.”
Finally, the order also “encourage[s] [but does not require] all retail businesses … to install plexiglass to separate cashiers and customers at all points of sale.”
Failure to comply with these orders may result in fines and/or imprisonment.
Employers in the City of Los Angeles with questions should seek guidance from legal counsel to determine whether they are subject to these new requirements.
Goldberg Segalla will continue to monitor and report on developments with respect to the COVID-19 pandemic and will post updates and useful information, available on our COVID-19 Hub.
For more information, contact:
- Matthew B. Golper
- Peter J. Woo
- Caroline J. Berdzik
Or another member of our Employment and Labor practice or Coronavirus Rapid Response Team
 The Worker Protection Order applies to all workers who work at the following businesses: Grocery stores, water retailers, farm and produce stands, supermarkets, convenience stores, warehouse stores, food banks, certified farmers markets, and other establishments engaged in the retail sale of canned food, dry goods, fresh fruits and vegetables, pet food and medication supply (but not grooming or training), fresh or frozen meats, fish, and poultry, any other household consumer products (such as construction supplies, cleaning, and personal care products); organizations and businesses that provide food, social services, and other necessities of life for economically disadvantaged or otherwise needy individuals (including gang prevention and intervention, domestic violence, and homeless services agencies); hardware and building supply stores, day labor centers, and nurseries; plumbers, electricians, exterminators, custodial/janitorial workers, handyman services, funeral home workers and morticians, moving services, HVAC installers, carpenters, day laborers, landscapers, gardeners, property managers and leasing agents, private security personnel; laundromats, dry cleaners, and laundry service providers; restaurants and retail food facilities that prepare and offer food to customers, but only via delivery service, to be picked up, or drive-thru; individuals and businesses that ship or deliver groceries, food, beverages, or goods directly to residences or businesses; taxis, ride sharing services, car rental companies, and other private transportation services; hotels, motels, and shared rental units.