On April 7, 2020, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti issued an order titled: Supplemental Paid Sick Leave Due to COVID-19. The order suspended and replaced Article 5-72HH of Chapter XX of the Los Angeles Municipal Code, for the duration of the COVID-19 emergency period. The municipal code was originally adopted by the Los Angeles City Council on March 27, 2020, to provide supplemental sick leave benefits to employees working at larger companies within Los Angeles. Mayor Garcetti determined the municipal code placed too high a burden on employers in Los Angeles, so he drafted the order loosening some of the provisions from the municipal code and creating exemptions for certain businesses.
The order adopts the majority of the municipal code in that it generally requires medium to large Los Angeles employers to provide up to 80 hours of supplemental paid sick leave to all employees in the city of Los Angeles who must take leave for reasons related to COVID-19, including:
Leave taken because a health care provider requires or recommends the employee self-quarantine or isolate to prevent the spread of COVID-19;
Leave taken if the employee is at least 65 years old and has a health condition such as heart disease, asthma, lung disease, diabetes, kidney disease, or weakened immune system;
Leave taken because the employee must care for a family member who is not sick but who health care providers have required to or recommended to isolate or self-quarantine; or
Leave taken because the employee needs to provide care for a family member whose senior care provider or whose school or child care provider for a child under the age of 18 temporarily ceases operations in response to a public health or other public official’s recommendation.
However, in an attempt to limit the impact on employers, the mayor’s order makes the supplemental sick leave provisions applicable only to employers with at least 500 employees within the city of Los Angeles or 2,000 employees nationally. The municipal code originally applied to all employers with more than 500 employees nationally. With this change, Mayor Garcetti hopes to protect medium-sized businesses from “excessive burdens” related to COVID-19 that could damage employers’ ability to remain open and in business.
Further provisions of the order intended to protect employers include exemptions for emergency and health services personnel, critical parcel delivery, government employers, and closed businesses. Employers who already provide “generous leave” to employees (policies that grant employees at least 160 hours of paid leave annually) are also exempt, as are new businesses that opened or relocated to the city from outside of Los Angeles on or after September 4, 2019, through March 4, 2020.
The ordinance has additional nuances employers should be comfortable with prior to making any employment decisions. View the full order here. To view our original Alert regarding the March 27, 2020, order from the City Council, click here.