Paid Sick Leave – Los Angeles City Ordinance Increase in Minimum Wage – City of Los Angeles & LA County Effective 7/1/16

A new Ordinance has been passed by the City of Los Angeles requiring all employers (regardless of size) to provide employees working in the City of Los Angeles with six (6) days (or 48 hours) of paid sick leave rather than the three (3) days (or 24 hours) required by state law.

As set forth in the state law, the Paid Sick Leave can either be given to the employees up front, or on an accrual basis, so the 6 days (or 48 hours) can be provided at the beginning of each year (or the beginning of employment) or can be subject to accrual at the rate of one (1) hour for every thirty (30) worked.

The terms under which the paid sick leave may be used are the same as the state law except:

1) if the accrual method is used, employees must be allowed to accrue up to a cap of 72 hours (rather than the current 48 hours under state law);

2) The sick leave can be used not only for the family members noted in the Labor Code but for the illness of “any individual related by blood or affinity whose close association with the employee is the equivalent of a family relationship”; and

3) the employer may require “reasonable documentation” when paid sick leave is to be used. [The employer should only ask for this “documentation” when the sick leave exceeds the three (3) days or 24 hours allowed by state law.

Employers in the City of Los Angeles need to determine whether they want to continue to give paid sick leave up front (now 6 days) or want the employees to accrue paid sick leave at the rate of one hour for every 30 worked. Employers may want to consider modifying their vacation or PTO policies since they will now be required to provide additional paid sick leave. However, the City Ordinance does state that “If an Employer has a paid leave or paid time off policy or provides payment for compensated time off, that is equal to or no less than 48 hours, no additional time is required”. So it appears that as long as you have Paid Sick Leave and/or PTO of 48 hours or more you will meet the requirements of the Ordinance.

Please also note that the minimum wage for the City of Los Angeles AND Los Angeles County increases to $10.50 per hour for employers with 26 or more employees.

Both the minimum wage increase and the change to the paid sick leave law are effective July 1st, 2016.

What This Means for You:

If you employ 26 or more employees and are located in the City or County of Los Angeles you must pay employees at least $10.50 per hour as of July 1, 2016 pursuant to the minimum wage increase in those areas. Also, if you operate in the City of Los Angeles and do not currently provide at least six (6) Paid Sick Leave days (or PTO) to employees you must do so immediately as the new City Ordinance goes into effect on July 1, 2016.

If you would like assistance with implementing these new requirements, please contact GMK attorneys Jeffrey Soll (through June 28th) or Jeanne Flaherty (after June 28th).