On March 27, 2020, the Los Angeles City Council approved a new ordinance that would have required Los Angeles employers to provide up to 80 hours of supplemental sick leave relating to COVID-19.  The broadly-worded ordinance provoked opposition from some in the business community. 

Last night, LA Mayor Eric Garcetti signed a Public Order Under City of Los Angeles Emergency Authority (“Emergency Order”) that suspends the City Council’s ordinance and created a modified form of supplemental paid sick leave applicable to employers with 500 or more employees in the City of Los Angeles or 2,000 or more in the United States. Mayor Garcetti stressed the need to “anticipate that workers could suffer through layoffs if … [the City] imposes excessive burdens and costs upon businesses – many of which have ceased operations, lost customers, and sustained catastrophic losses due to this pandemic.”

Under the Emergency Order, eligible employees who work at least 40 hours per week or are classified as full-time will receive 80 hours of supplemental paid sick leave, based on their average biweekly pay between February 3 and March 4, 2020.  Eligible part-time employees will receive supplemental sick leave no greater than their average biweekly pay over the same period.  Supplemental sick leave is capped at $511 per day and/or $5,110 in the aggregate per employee.

Employees may use supplemental sick leave for the following purposes:

  • Due to their own COVID-19 infection or because a public health official or healthcare provider recommends they isolate or quarantine themselves;
  • Because the employee is at least 65 years old or has certain health conditions that make them more susceptible to COVID-19 (e.g., heart disease, weakened immune system, etc.);
  • To care for a family member who is not sick but is being quarantined or self-isolating; or
  • To provide care for a family member whose senior care provider or whose school or childcare provider temporarily ceases operations, if the employee is unable to secure a reasonable alternative caregiver.

Like the City Council ordinance, the Mayor’s Emergency Order exempts emergency and health services personnel.  However, the Emergency Order also exempts the following:

  • Critical parcel delivery employees;
  • Employees whose employer has a paid leave or paid time off policy that provides a minimum of 160 hours of paid leave annually;
  • Certain new businesses, except for specified construction and film production businesses;
  • Employers who were closed or not operating for a period of 14 or more days due to an emergency order related to the COVID-19 pandemic or who provided employees with at least 14 days of leave;
  • Government agencies; and
  • Certain employees covered by collective bargaining agreements.