On April 19, 2016, the Los Angeles City Council approved a measure that would require employers in the City of Los Angeles to provide their employees with six days, or 48 hours, of paid sick leave. Pending an approved ordinance drafted by the City Attorney, the requirement will become effective on July 1, 2016. This would be three days more per year than the State of California’s paid sick leave requirements which took effect on July 1, 2015.
The ordinance would apply to employees who who work for the same employer in the City of Los Angeles for thirty days or more per year , and would begin on the first day of employment, or July 1, 2016, whichever is later. Employers who contract with the city of Los Angeles will still be required to give their employees twelve days, or 96 hours, of paid sick leave. Workers in Los Angeles would not be paid for unused sick days, but accrued time could be carried over to the next year. Businesses could cap that accrued time at 72 hours, or set a higher cap or none at all.
Under the new law, which must still be drafted by Los Angeles city attorneys, “no longer will workers have to make a choice between putting food on the table and getting well,” said Rusty Hicks, executive secretary-treasurer of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor.
In arguing against the proposed law, some business groups claimed that the new requirements would place yet another burden on employers who already are facing other costly new mandates, including a string of increases to the L.A. minimum wage that eventually will require businesses to pay at least $15.00 per hour by 2020. The California Restaurant Association warned that the new rules could jeopardize small restaurants. Los Angeles’ big hotels and city contractors must already provide a dozen paid days off for sickness and other needs.
The City Council voted 13 to 1 to ask city lawyers to start drafting the new law.
If the law wins final approval, Los Angeles will join more than two dozen other cities and counties nationwide that have mandated a minimum number of paid sick days, according to the National Partnership for Women & Families.
If approved, the law would go into effect for bigger businesses in Los Angeles in July. Small businesses with 25 employees or less would have an additional year to comply.
The new proposal comes a year after the State of California enacted the “Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act,” in July of 2015, giving employees access to three days, or 24 hours, of paid sick leave. If enacted, the Los Angeles 6-day ordinance would give small business a one-year grace period in which to adjust to the new requirement.
Backers of the new law estimate that more than 650,000 Los Angeles workers could be affected by the city requirements, based on an earlier analysis by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research that gauged how many workers had no access to paid sick leave before California passed its law in 2014.
Continue to follow The Grady Firm’s blog for updates on this potential new requirement for Los Angeles employers.
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