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City of Los Angeles Paid Sick Leave and Minimum Wage Ordinances in Effect July 1

Publications - Client Alert | June 15, 2016

The City of Los Angeles’s paid sick leave and minimum wage ordinances go into effect July 1, 2016. While all California employers have been required to provide paid sick leave to employees since July 1, 2015, Los Angeles employers must now comply with the new ordinance that provides expanded benefits to employees.

Sick Leave

The Los Angeles Sick Leave Ordinance (“Ordinance”) covers employers with employees that have worked at least two hours in Los Angeles in a particular week. Employees working in Los Angeles must be employed with the same employer for at least 30 days to be entitled to paid sick leave. Employees cannot use paid sick leave until their 90th day of employment concludes.

Under the new Los Angeles Ordinance, employers must provide following:

1.     Use.  Employees must be allowed to use 48 hours per year (as opposed to the 24 hours mandated by the State) for the same purposes as those in the State Paid Sick Leave statute. Notable differences between the Los Angeles City Ordinance and State Paid Sick Leave regarding use are:

a.      The Ordinance does not specify that employers may require sick time be taken in two-hour increments.

b.     The Ordinance expands the family member definition to include “any individual related by blood or affinity whose close association with the employee is the equivalent of a family relationship.”

2. Notice.  Employers may require employees to give reasonable documentation of an absence from work.  However, with respect to State Paid Sick Leave, DLSE investigators have taken the position that reasonable documentation for an absence cannot be requested.   Employers should be cautious in doing so to avoid running afoul of state law.

3. Accrual.  Employers may use one of two available accrual methods that are akin to the State Paid Sick Leave Statute:

  • Employees are granted the full 48 hours of paid sick time at the beginning of each year (anniversary, calendar, or other 12-month period); or
  •  Employees accrue one hour of sick time for every 30 hours worked.

 4. Accrual Cap.  Employers may establish a maximum accrual cap at 72 hours.  If there is already a PTO that would permit  48 hours of annual leave, then no additional time off is required.

5. On Termination.  Employers are not required to pay employees for accrued but unused paid sick leave at termination.

6. Reinstatement.  If a terminated employee is re-hired within one year, he or she is entitled to reinstatement of his or her accrued but unused paid sick leave.

Minimum Wage

The Ordinance sets forth the following schedules for minimum wage increases:

For employers with 26 or more employees:

  • July 1, 2016: $10.50/hour
  • July 1, 2017: $12.00/hour

  • July 1, 2018: $13.25/hour

  • July 1, 2019: $14.25/hour

  • July 1, 2020: $15.00/hour

 For employers with 25 or fewer employees:

  • July 1, 2017: $10.50/hour
  •  July 1, 2018: $12.00/hour

  • July 1, 2019: $13.25/hour

  • July 1, 2020: $14.25/hour

  • July 1, 2021: $15.00/hour

Beginning July 1, 2022, the minimum wage will increase every July 1 based on the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) for the Los Angeles metropolitan area.