Just as employers thought there could not be any additional paid sick leave requirements, the County of Los Angeles passed yet another COVID-19 paid leave requirement for employees obtaining or effected by the vaccine.  This ordinance requires employers to pay up to four hours per injection for COVID-19 vaccine paid leave under certain circumstances.  The ordinance takes effect on May 18, 2021 and applies retroactively to January 1, 2021 and expires on August 31, 2021.

1. Covered Employers

The Los Angeles COVID-19 vaccine paid leave ordinance applies to all employers who have employees working in the unincorporated areas of the County of Los Angeles.

2. Covered Employees

Any employee working in an unincorporated area of the County of Los Angeles is covered by the new ordinance.  To be eligible for this Vaccine Paid Leave, the employee is required to have exhausted all paid leave under the California 2021 COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave set forth in Labor Code section 248.2.

3. Amount of Vaccine Paid Leave

Employees are entitled to take paid leave for “receiving each COVID-19 vaccine injection,” time traveling to and from a COVID-19 vaccine appointment, and to recover from symptoms related to receiving a COVID-19 vaccine that prevent the employee from being able to work or telework.  The COVID-19 Vaccine Paid Leave is in addition to paid sick leave required under California’s Healthy Workplaces Healthy Families Act of 2014.

Employees are entitled to up to four hours of paid leave “per injection.”  Therefore, if an employee is required to have two injections, they would be permitted to have up to eight hours of paid leave.

The employee’s regular rate of pay is calculated on the highest average two-week pay during January 1, 2021 to May 18, 2021.  Part-time employees are entitled to the prorated amount of four hours per injection based on their normally scheduled work hours over the two-week period before the injection.  Therefore, an employee who worked 20 hours per week during the two-week period before the injection would be entitled to two hours of COVID-19 Vaccine Paid Leave per injection.

4. Can employers require documentation from the employee?

Employers may require employees to provide written verification of the COVID-19 vaccine to be eligible for the paid leave.

5. Poster and Documentation Requirements

The Los Angeles County Department of Consumer and Business Affairs (“DCBA”) will be developing a poster that employers must post in a conspicuous place regarding the COVID-19 Vaccine Paid Leave.

Employers must keep payroll records to show compliance with this ordinance for four years.  This includes the employee name, address, occupation, dates of employment, rate of pay, and the amount paid.