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LOS ANGELES COUNTY IMPOSES PAID SICK LEAVE RETROACTIVE TO JANUARY 1, 2021

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EMPLOYMENT LAW COVID-19 UPDATE
LOS ANGELES COUNTY IMPOSES PAID SICK LEAVE RETROACTIVE TO JANUARY 1, 2021
FEBRUARY 4, 2021
Los Angeles County

As has been previously reported, the Extended Paid Sick Leave (EPSL) benefits provided by the FFCRA expired as of December 31, 2020. As of December 31st many local, city and county, including Los Angeles County, supplemental paid sick leave ordinances also expired.

However, on January 26, 2021, the County of Los Angeles passed an ordinance which requires both large and small employers in unincorporated parts of the County to provide supplemental COVID-19 related paid sick leave. The ordinance is effective immediately with a retroactive date of January 1, 2021. This new ordinance will remain in effect until two calendar weeks after the expiration of the COVID-19 local emergency as declared by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors.

The unincorporated parts of Los Angeles County can be found here.

There are some differences between the prior ordinance and the new ordinance which can be found here (ordinance). Below are the major points that employers in the unincorporated parts of Los Angeles County need to know:

  1. Who is a Covered Employer. All private employers in unincorporated parts of Los Angeles County without regard to the number of employees. The prior ordinance only covered employers with 500 or more.
  2. Who is a Covered Employee. Persons who perform any work within the unincorporated parts of the County including food sector employees (who had been excluded from the prior ordinance). Employers may continue to exclude Emergency Responders and Health Care Providers from coverage.
  3. How Much Supplemental Paid Sick is Required. As with the FFCRA paid sick leave benefits, full time employees or those who work at least 40 hours per week can receive a maximum of 80 hours. Employees who are not classified as full-time, or work less than 40 hours per week, can receive Supplemental Paid Sick Leave in an amount not greater than their average two-week pay. The Supplemental Paid Sick Leave is calculated based on the employee’s highest average two-week pay between January 1, 2020 and January 1, 2021. The maximum amount of Supplemental Paid Sick Leave remains at $511 per day or $5,110 in total.
  4. Offset Against FFCRA Benefits: If an employee exhausted their available FFCRA leave for a covered reason, or already exhausted leave available under the original Los Angeles County Supplemental Paid Sick Leave ordinance, the employee is not entitled to additional leave under the renewed Ordinance.
  5. What is A Covered Reason for Leave. The reasons for leave have not changed under the new ordinance. Supplemental Paid Sick Leave is available upon written request (including text or email) when the employee cannot work or telework for one of the following reasons:
    1. A public health official or healthcare provider requires or recommends that the employee self-isolate or quarantine to prevent the spread of COVID-19;
    2. The employee is subject to a federal, state, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19 (e.g., is at least 65-years-old or has a health condition such as “heart disease, asthma, lung disease, diabetes, kidney disease, or weakened immune system”);
    3. The employee is caring for a family member who is subject to a federal, state, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19, or has been advised by a health care provider to isolate or self-quarantine; or
    4. The employee needs time off to care for a family member whose senior care provider, school, or child care provider has ceased operations in response to a public official’s recommendation.

Employers may require the employee to provide appropriate documentation, such as a doctor’s note, for employees to be eligible for Paid Sick Leave under one of the qualifying reasons.

City Of Los Angeles

The City of Los Angeles Supplemental Paid Sick Leave ordinance remains in effect until 2 calendar weeks after the expiration of the COVID-19 local emergency period. Because the local emergency period has not “expired” the City of Los Angeles Supplemental Paid Sick Leave remains available for employees who perform work within the City of Los Angeles for an employer with 500 or more employees nationally (with some exceptions).

What Do I Do Now?

Covered employers should review their records to determine if any covered employee requested and took time off which would be considered a “qualifying reason “ for the paid sick leave and retroactively paid their supplemental paid sick leave benefit.

Summary of Local Paid Sick Leave Ordinances

Below is a summary of some of the current supplemental paid sick leave ordinances with the current expiration date, which of course is subject to extension as the pandemic continues.

DISCLAIMER: Please note, the above is not an exhaustive list of all the changes to the law or resources for individuals and businesses. These new laws bring new challenges that often need to be handled on a case-by-case basis. Given the current fluid and rapidly evolving nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, this memo is provided solely as a reference tool to be used for informational purposes and is subject to change based on evolving information and it should not be construed or interpreted as providing legal advice related to any specific case or cases.

 This Newsletter is intended as a brief summary of employment law. While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information contained herein, it is not intended to serve as “legal advice,” or to establish an attorney-client relationship. If additional information is needed on any of the topics contained herein, please contact our office. All rights reserved. ©2021.