On June 1, 2016, the Los Angeles City Council finalized the City’s paid sick leave ordinance. Effective July 1, 2016, Los Angeles employers with 26 or more employees must provide employees with paid sick leave benefits, while employers with fewer than 26 employees must do so as of July 1, 2017.
Amount of Leave
Employers can satisfy the ordinance’s requirements by providing 48 hours of paid sick leave up front or by providing employees with 1 hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked. An employer also can satisfy the ordinance if its current paid sick leave policy provides 48 hours or more of paid sick leave per year.
Under the ordinance, up to a maximum cap of 72 hours of paid sick leave may be carried over from year to year . Employers can limit employees’ use of paid sick leave to 48 hours over a 12-month period.
Employees can use Los Angeles paid sick leave to care for themselves or for family members, using California’s statewide paid sick leave law’s definition of “family member” (child, parent, spouse, registered domestic partner, grandparent, grandchild, or sibling). Employees also may use paid sick leave to care for “any individual related by blood or affinity whose close association with the employee is the equivalent of a family relationship.”
An employer can require an employee to provide reasonable medical documentation for each use of Los Angeles paid sick leave.
No Pay-Out at Termination
Just as under California’s statewide paid sick leave law, an employer need not pay out accrued sick leave at the time of termination. Similarly, the employer must reinstate accrued paid sick leave if it rehires the employee within a year.
As under the state law, the Los Angeles ordinance prohibits employers from retaliating against employees who use paid sick leave. The ordinance presumes retaliation if an employer takes adverse action against an employee within 90 days of the employee exercising his or her rights under the ordinance.
The ordinance does not include a collective bargaining agreement carve out. Instead, the ordinance prohibits employees from waiving their rights under the ordinance.
Postings and Records
Employers must post the Notice prepared by the City at every worksite at which an employee works. Employers must post the notice in every language spoken by at least 5 percent of the job site’s workforce.
Employers must maintain payroll records for four years to demonstrate compliance.
In addition, employers must provide new and current employees with the employer’s name, address, and telephone number. Employers must update this information within 10 days of any information change.
Remedies and Penalties
In addition to paying an employee any sick leave that the employer should have paid, an employer that violates the ordinance must pay $120.00 in daily penalties to the employee until the employer cures the violation. If an employer retaliates against an employee, the employee may recover treble paid sick leave, lost wages, and penalties.
In addition, employers may be liable to the city for an administrative penalty of $50.00 per day until the employer cures the violation.
Employees may pursue either administrative remedies through the city or file a lawsuit in court.