May 25, 2020

City of Los Angeles Supplemental COVID-19 Paid Sick Leave Will Proceed, but As Superseded by the Mayor’s Public Order

On March 27, 2020, the City of Los Angeles City Council passed an ordinance requiring that employers with 500 or more employees nationally offer 80 hours of Supplemental Paid Sick Leave to employees who perform work within the geographic boundaries of the City of Los Angeles for various COVID-19 related reasons.  Please see our March 29,2020 article for a summary of the ordinance passed by the City of Los Angeles City Council.

However, on April 7, 2020, Mayor Eric Garcetti largely replaced and superseded the ordinance passed by the City Council through Public Order under the Mayor’s emergency authority.  Below is a summary of the Mayor’s Public Order.  The Public Order is effective on April 10, 2020.

Covered Employer

The Public Order applies to employers that have either: (1) 500 or more employees within the City of Los Angeles, or (2) 2,000 or more employees within the United States. This is a change from the original ordinance which applied to employers of 500 or more nationally.

Covered Reasons

Covered reasons for the Supplemental Paid Sick Leave in the Public Order still include the following reasons as found in the City Council’s passed version:

  1. Time off because a “public health official or health provider requires or recommends the Employee isolate or self-quarantine to prevent the spread of COVID-19;”
  2. The employee takes time off because they are at least 65 years old or has a health condition that puts them at risk;
  3. 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 self-quarantine; or
  4. The employee needs to provide care to a family member whose senior care provider, school, or childcare provider is closed.

Both the ordinance and the Public Order prohibit employers from requiring a doctor’s note or other documentation to use the Supplemental Paid Sick Leave.

Caps on Payments

The Public Order caps the total amount to be paid to $511 per day and $5,110 in the aggregate.

Employer Offset

An employer’s obligation to provide the 80 hours of Supplemental Paid Sick Leave under the Public Order is reduced for every hour an employer allowed an employee to take paid leave in an amount equal or greater than the requirements outlined in the Public Order, not including previously accrued hours.

New Exemptions Found in the Public Order

The City Council Ordinance exempted only first responders from the provision of paid sick leave. The Mayor’s Public Order includes the following broader list of exemptions:

Emergency and Health Services Personnel

Employers of emergency personnel as defined by the City’s prior Shelter-In-Place Order or health care workers as defined under the Government Code.

Critical Parcel Delivery

Employers that provide global parcel delivery services, which has been deemed an essential emergency service.

Generous Leave

Employers who offer paid leave or paid time off that provides a minimum of 160 hours of paid leave annually.

New Business Exemption

Businesses that opened in the City and businesses that relocated to the City during the period September 4, 2019, through March 4, 2020. To qualify for the exemption, the business could not have been a business within the City of Los Angeles in the 2018 tax year. However, this exemption does not apply to construction businesses or film producers.

Government

Government agencies working within the course and scope of their public service employment.

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.

Collective Bargaining

A collective bargaining agreement in place on the effective date of the Public Order may supersede the provisions of this Order if it contains COVID-19 related sick leave provisions. When the collective bargaining agreement expires or is otherwise open for renegotiation, the provisions of the Public Order may only be expressly waived if the waiver is explicitly set forth in the agreement in clear and unambiguous terms.

* * *

The Public Order remains in effect until two calendar weeks after the expiration of the COVID-19 local emergency period.

Jackson Lewis P.C. © 2020

TRENDING LEGAL ANALYSIS


About this Author

Susan E. Groff, Jackson Lewis, disability accommodation lawyer, protected absence attorney
Principal

Susan E. Groff is a Principal in the Los Angeles, California, office of Jackson Lewis P.C. She advises and counsels management on various employment related issues.

Ms. Groff advises employers on complying with federal and California requirements for disability accommodation and protected leaves of absence.

In addition, Ms. Groff counsels employers on a host of other employment issues, including wage and hour laws, harassment and discrimination complaints, workplace investigations,...

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Michelle K. Meek Employment Litigation Attorney Jackson Lewis San Diego, CA
Associate

Michelle K. Meek is an Associate in the San Diego, California, office of Jackson Lewis P.C. Her practice focuses on representing employers in workplace law matters, including preventive advice and counseling.

Ms. Meek represents employers in all aspects of state and federal employment litigation, including discrimination, harassment, wrongful termination and retaliation claims and wage and hour disputes. Ms. Meek has represented clients in California state court, federal court, arbitrations, administrative hearings (OAH, EEOC, DFEH, DLSE, and EDD), and mediation.

Ms. Meek regularly counsels employers on a broad spectrum of complex employment matters, including reasonable accommodation, the interactive process, leaves of absence, employee discipline, terminations, and wage and hour issues. Ms. Meek also assists employers in drafting comprehensive employee handbooks, and personnel policies to ensure compliance with California and federal law. In addition, she conducts management trainings on a wide array of employment law matters.

Prior to joining the firm, Ms. Meek practiced labor and employment law in Los Angeles and San Diego.

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