MAYOR SIGNS COVID-19 PAID VACCINE LEAVE FOR LOS ANGELES CITY

On June 24th, Los Angeles City Mayor Garcetti signed an Emergency Order providing COVID-19 Vaccine Paid Sick Leave through September 30th.

There are now 3 separate paid sick leave orders that potentially covers employees within the Los Angeles area:

  1. The City’s new paid vaccine leave order which covers all employees working within the City of Los Angeles;
  2. The Los Angeles County leave order which covers all employees in the unincorporated areas of Los Angeles County.
  3. The California 2021 COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave (“SPSL”) which covers all workers within California if the employer has 26 or more employees.

In addition, Los Angeles City has renewed its Supplemental Paid Sick Leave due to COVID-19 which was originally issued on April 7,2020 and applies to employers with 500 or more employees within the City of Los Angeles or 2000 or more employees within the United States.

What the Paid Vaccine Leave Provides:

Effective Period. The paid leave is effective retroactively to January 1, 2021 and remains in effect until September 30, 2021.

Eligible Employees. Employees are eligible for the paid leave if they perform work within the geographic boundaries of the City of Los Angeles and have been employed by the same employer for 60 days.

Amount of Leave: The paid leave includes travel time to/from the vaccine appointment, the time spent receiving the injection, and any recovery needed due to vaccine side effects that prevent an employee from working or teleworking as stated below.

Employers with 25 or fewer employees:
  • Full Time Employees*: are entitled to up to 4 hours of paid leave to obtain each injection and up to 8 hours of leave to recover from any vaccination-related side effects.
  • Part-time employees: are entitled to a prorated** amount of leave based on their average number of hours worked in the 60 days preceding the injection.

Employers with 26 or more employees are required to provide paid leave to employees who have exhausted their leave under California’s SPSL and/or the City of Los Angeles’ Supplemental Paid Sick Leave.

* Full time employees are employees who the employer considers to work full time; or an employee who worked or was scheduled to work, on average, at least 40 hours per week for the employer in the two weeks preceding the date the employee took COVID-19 Vaccine Leave.

**The prorated amount is based on the average number of hours worked in the 60 days preceding the injection. Ex: A part-time employee worked 240 hours in the last 60 days (including non-working days): 240 hours divided by 60 days = average of 4 hours per day –> average of 4 hours per day x 7 days = average of 28 hours per week. At a prorated rate, the Employee is eligible for 2.8 hours (2 hours 48 minutes) per vaccine injection and 5.6 hours (5 hours 36 minutes) for vaccine recovery.)

Rate of Pay & Cap On Amount
  • Non-exempt employees: the rate of pay is the highest of:
    • the employee’s normal rate of pay (for the workweek in which leave was taken);
    • $15.00/hour (LA City’s current minimum wage);
    • The employee’s average hourly rate for the preceding 60 days (not including overtime).
  • Exempt employees: the rate of pay is calculated in the same manner as the employer calculates wages for other forms of paid leave time. The pay is capped $511 per day and $1,022 in the aggregate.

Verification: Employers are permitted to ask employees to provide written verification of receipt of a COVID-19 vaccine to receive payment for the leave.

Relationship with Other Leave. The paid leave is in addition to any other paid leave available to an employee. An employer cannot require an employee to use other paid or unpaid leave prior to using the vaccine paid sick leave.

Offset To Other Paid Leave: If an employer provides another supplemental benefit that is in addition to any other accrued leave (e.g. California’s SPSL) that is taken on or after January 1, 2021, which provides the same amount of pay and is provided for the same reasons, then the employer may count those hours toward the total amount of vaccine paid sick leave owed.

Retroactive: The paid leave is retroactive to January 1, 2021. If an employee took COVID-19 vaccine-related leave between January 1, 2021, and June 24, 2021, and the amount of paid leave was less than the amount required in the order, employees may request retroactive payment. Retroactivity is not automatic. The employee must make an oral or written request to the employer.

Reclassification of Prior Leave: If an employee took non-COVID-19 paid leave to receive or recover from a COVID-19 vaccination, (e.g. vacation, PTO, paid sick leave, or unpaid time off), the employer must reclassify the leave taken as COVID-19 Vaccine Leave and restore the leave taken by the employee under the different category of leave.

Wage Statements: Any reclassification, restoration, or adjustment of other leave previously taken, as well as the remaining hours of COVID-19 Vaccine, Paid Sick Leave, must be reflected on the employee’s wage statement on or before the payday for the next full pay period after the oral or written request of the employee.

No Retaliation & Enforcement: An employer may not retaliate against any person seeking to enforce his or her rights to COVID-19 Vaccine Paid Sick Leave. Employees who claim a violation of the order may file a lawsuit in a California court and may be awarded attorney fees (no attorney fees available for prevailing employers).


CAL/OSHA UPDATES ITS MODEL COVID-19 PREVENTION PROGRAM

On June 29,2020 Cal/OSHA published a revised COVID-19 Model Prevention Program which has been updated to reflect the changes to the Emergency Temporary Standards (ETS) which occurred on June 17, 2021. Unfortunately, Cal/OSHA has not specifically marked the changes in the updated Model Program.

Employers are required to have a COVID-19 prevention program in place and the model program can be used and personalized to assist the company to comply with the legal requirements.

The updated model program can be found here.

In addition to the COVID-19 Model Written Program, Cal/OSHA provides numerous resources for employers on their website including FAQs and Fact Sheets.

Cal/OSHA also provides complimentary webinars on COVID-19 Regulations for Employers and Supervisors. Click here to see the list and schedule of upcoming webinars.

The next webinar is scheduled for Thursday July 1, 2021, at 9:00 am.  You can register by clicking here.

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