Los AngelesLos Angeles city past a new law on June 1, 2016 requiring employers with 26 or more employees to provide employees with 48 hours of paid sick leave per year.  This is twice the amount required by California state law.  The kicker: employers must develop policies, adjust payroll, and put the new requirement into effect by July 1, 2016.  Employers in the City of LA must comply with the law that provides more benefits to the employee, and this means many employers must immediately start implementing payroll and policy changes to meet this short deadline.  This Friday’s Five reviews five items Los Angeles city employers need to know about the new law to comply in less than 30 days:

1. Accrual methods

Employees who on or after July 1, 2016 work in the City of Los Angeles for the same employer for 30 days or more within one year from starting work for the employer is entitled to paid sick leave under the city law.  Paid sick leave accrues on the first day of employment or July 1, 2016, whichever is later.  Even though the employee is accruing paid sick leave, the employee is not entitled to use paid sick leave until the beginning on the 90th day of employment or July 1, 2016, whichever is later.

Two methods of providing paid sick leave:

  • Up front grant – by providing the entire 48 hours to an employee at the beginning of each year of employment, calendar year, or 12-month period or
  • By providing the employee one hour of sick leave per every 30 hours worked.

LA city’s law is different than state law in this regard.  State law allows for different options for employers to accrue paid sick leave, and under state law if the employer uses the up front grant method, there is no carry over requirement into the new year.  However, the LA city law requires up to 72 hours to carry over to the next year, even under the up front grant.

2. Caps on accrual

Employees are entitled to take up to 48 hours of sick leave in each year of employment, calendar year, or 12-month period.  Accrued unused paid sick leave shall carry over to the following year of employment and may be capped at 72 hours.

3. Employee’s notice requirements and doctor’s note requirement

An employer must provide paid sick leave upon the oral or written request of an employee for themselves or a family member, or any “individual related by blood or affinity whose close association with the employee is the equivalent of a family relationship.”  What is an individual relationship that is the equivalent of a family relationship?  Good question, and the law does not clarify what is meant to be covered by this requirement.

Differing from state law, the LA city law does set that an employer may require an employee to provide “reasonable documentation” of an absence from work to use paid sick leave.

4. No payout of unused paid sick leave upon separation

Accrued and unused paid sick leave does not need to be paid out at separation from employment.  This is similar to state law.

If employee separates from the employer, and then is rehired by the employer within one year, the previously accrued and unused paid sick time must be reinstated.

An employee may not waive their rights to the city’s paid sick leave law.

5. Minimum wage increase

As a reminder, the ordinance also increases the minimum wage for workers within Los Angeles city (as previously written about here).

Starting July 1, 2016, the minimum wage in the City of Los Angeles will increase according to the following rate:

Effective Date Employers With 26 or more Employees Employers with 25 or fewer Employees or Non-Profit corporations with 26 or more Employees with approval to pay a deferred rate
7/1/2016 $10.50 Deferred
7/1/2017 $12.00 $10.50
7/1/2018 $13.25 $12.00
7/1/2019 $14.25 $13.25
7/1/2020 $15.00 $14.25
7/1/2021 $15.00 $15.00

Los Angeles County also passed an ordinance that tracks this schedule, and applies to Los Angeles County, except for any incorporated cities within the County.

As a reminder, I will be speaking about this new law, and other mid-year legal updates at our seminar and mixer on June 22, 2016 at the Westside Tavern in Los Angeles.  Registration and additional information can be found here.