Emergency COVID-19 Order Issued in City of Los Angeles: Additional Paid Sick Leave Requirements for Large LA Employers

Caitlin I. Sanders

On April 7, 2020, Los Angeles City Mayor Eric Garcetti issued an Emergency Order requiring certain employers to provide up to 80 hours of supplemental paid sick leave to employees who are not covered by the federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act for reasons related to COVID-19. The Emergency Order can be found on Mayor Garcetti’s website here.

Here are the basic provisions of Mayor Garcetti’s COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Leave Order (“Order”):

Who Is Covered by the Supplemental Paid Sick Leave Order?

Employers with 500 or more employees within the City of Los Angeles or 2,000 or more employees nationally may be required to provide supplemental paid sick leave to employees who are unable to work or telework if they meet the following criteria: (i) they have worked for the same employer from February 3, 2020, through March 4, 2020, and (ii) they perform work in the City of Los Angeles.

Emergency and health services, parcel delivery services, and government agency employees are expressly exempt from the Order.

For What Purposes May Employees Use Supplemental Paid Sick Leave?

Employees may use supplemental paid sick leave for the following reasons:

    1. Due to COVID-19 infection or because a public health official or healthcare provider requires or recommends the employee isolate or self-quarantine to prevent the spread of COVID-19;
    2. The employee is at least 65 years old or has certain health conditions or a weakened immune system;
    3. To care for a family member who is not sick but who public health officials or healthcare providers have required or recommended be in isolation or self-quarantine; or
    4. To provide care for a family member whose senior care provider or whose school or childcare provider temporarily ceases operations in response to a public health or other public official’s recommendation.

Employers may not require a doctor’s note or other documentation for use of supplemental paid sick leave relating to COVID-19.

How Much Supplemental Paid Sick Leave Is Provided and When May It Be Used?

The Order requires up to 80 hours of supplemental paid sick leave for COVID-19, which is available for use only until two calendar weeks after the expiration of the COVID-19 local emergency period.

Employers who have a paid leave or paid time off policy that provides at least 160 hours annually are not required to provide supplemental paid leave under the Order. Additionally, employers may offset their obligation to provide 80 hours of supplemental paid sick leave by each hour they have provided an employee with paid leave (on or after March 4, 2020) in an amount greater than or equal to the amounts required under the Order, provided that the paid leave was not previously accrued.

How Is Supplemental Paid Sick Leave Calculated?

Full-time employees receive 80 hours of supplemental paid sick leave, calculated by using the employee’s average two-week pay from February 3, 2020, to March 4, 2020, capped at $511 per day.

Part-time employees are entitled to sick leave pay in an amount no greater than their average two-week pay from February 3, 2020, to March 4, 2020.

Are There Any Exemptions from the Order?

Certain new and closed businesses and organizations are also exempted from the Order.

What Are the Penalties for Violating the Order?

An employee claiming a violation of the Order may bring a civil action against their employer. If successful, they may be entitled to reinstatement, back pay (including the supplemental paid sick leave withheld), reasonable attorney’s fees and costs, and other legal or equitable relief deemed appropriate by the court.

For the latest updates, please visit Blank Rome’s Coronavirus (“COVID-19”) Task Force page.

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