CITY OF LOS ANGELES NEW PAID SICK LEAVE REQUIREMENTS EFFECTIVE JULY 1, 2016 « Law Offices of Timothy Bowles | Top Employment Law Firm in Los Angeles


Ordinance Requires Double the Benefits California Law Currently Specifies

On June 1, 2016, the City of Los Angeles (City) joined the list of California cities that have enacted their own paid sick leave ordinances, including for example Emeryville, Oakland, San Francisco and Santa Monica.  This law will impose double the minimum paid sick leave requirements upon covered employers that California law currently mandates. See California Paid Sick Leave Law, More About.

Effective July 1, 2016, Ordinance No. 184320 amends the Los Angeles Municipal Code.  Sections 187.02 and 187.04 of that ordinance require that employers must provide paid sick time to any “Employee” working in the City for 30 days or more in a year. Section 187.01 defines “Employee” as any individual who in a particular week performs at least two hours of work within the geographic boundaries of the City for an Employer.  It is possible that the ordinance does not apply to small businesses with 25 or fewer Employees until July 1, 2017; however, the City has not yet provided guidance on this point.

Section 187.04G provides that an employer must provide sick time benefits upon the oral or written request of a covered “Employee” for absences necessary to tend to the illness of that employee, of various specified family members, and of “any individual related by blood or affinity whose close association with the employee is the equivalent of a family relationship.”

The law requires that employers must provide either:

  • 48 hours of sick leave to the employee at the beginning of each year of employment, calendar year, or 12-month period (choice is the employer’s and will partly depend on an employee’s start date); or
  • one hour of sick leave for every 30 hours worked.

While under the ordinance, one hour for every 30 hours worked would add up to more than 48 hours in the course of a year for a full time worker, an employee will only be “entitled to take up to 48 hours of sick leave in each year of employment, calendar year, or 12-month period.”

Under the California law, an employer may cap accrued, unused paid sick time at 48 hours.  However, for covered employers, this Los Angeles city ordinance extends that cap to 72 hours.  Whether the carry-over applies only to the accrual method of calculating sick leave or also to the up-front method (first bullet point above) is another point of ambiguity in the ordinance. Attorneys with clients potentially affected are seeking clarification from the City to resolve that issue.

As with the state sick leave law, employees hired after the effective date of the ordinance will be allowed to use accrued paid sick leave beginning on the 90th day of employment.

Potentially affected employers should ensure their sick leave policies and practices comply with these new standards.

This is an outline of the basic aspects of this new law.  If you would like further, more detailed information, please contact Tim Bowles, Cindy Bamforth or Helena Kobrin.

Helena Kobrin, June 17, 2016