On April 7, 2020, Mayor Eric Garcetti issued an emergency order providing supplemental paid sick leave to certain employees working within the City of Los Angeles for a variety of reasons related to COVID-19 (the "Order"). Notably, Mayor Garcetti issued the Order after declining to sign the COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave Ordinance (the “Ordinance”) approved by the Los Angeles City Council (“City Council”) on March 27. Our previous post summarizing the City Council’s Ordinance is located here.
Although it achieves a similar goal, the Order is materially different from the City Council’s Ordinance. Below are some of the key aspects of the Order, which went into effect on April 7, 2020.
Employees who (i) have been employed by the same employer from February 3, 2020 through March 4, 2020, and (ii) perform any work within the geographic boundaries of the City of Los Angeles are eligible to use supplemental paid sick leave under the Order.
The Order applies to employers with either (i) 500 or more employees within the City of Los Angeles, or (ii) 2,000 or more employees within the United States.
Amount of Supplemental Paid Sick Leave
Supplemental paid sick leave must be provided to eligible employees at the following rates, with a cap of $511 per day and $5,110 in total:
Supplemental paid sick leave under the Order must be provided in addition to any sick leave mandated by existing California and Los Angeles leave laws, but not in addition to sick leave required by the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FCCRA).
Importantly, an employer that has already provided paid leave since March 4, 2020 for COVID-19-related purposes may offset the previously provided paid leave against the 80 hours required by the Order. For example, a full-time employee, who has used 10 hours of paid leave since March 4, 2020 for a COVID-19 related reason is only required to receive 70 hours of supplemental paid sick leave under the Order (as opposed to 80).
Permissible Reasons for Using Supplemental Paid Sick Leave
An employee who is unable to work or telework may use supplemental paid sick leave for the following reasons:
Employees may make an oral or written request for supplemental paid sick leave and are not required to submit documentation to the employer in support of the request.
Notably, the Order includes several exemptions that did not appear in the City Council’s Ordinance. Specifically, the following categories of employers are not covered by the Order:
Additionally, the Order permits a collective bargaining agreement to expressly waive the right of employees to utilize the benefits provided by the Order. However, any collective bargaining agreement in place as of April 7, 2020 that does not address COVID-19 related sick leave must comply with the Order until the collective bargaining agreement is amended to expressly include a waiver.
The Order will remain in effect until two calendar weeks after the expiration of the COVID-19 local emergency period. The Order doesn’t provide any specific criteria to help determine when the COVID-19 local emergency period has expired.
The Order establishes the Office of Wage Standards (OWS) of the Bureau of Contract Administration as the agency responsible for promulgating Rules and Regulations that employers may rely on to comply with the Order. As stated in the Order, the OWS will post the Rules and Regulations to WagesLA.lacity.org.
We will continue to monitor any further developments and provide an update once additional guidance on the Order has been issued. Please check Orrick’s COVID-19 resource center for the latest updates.