The city of Los Angeles is a step closer to requiring all employers to provide six days of paid sick leave to their workers, three days more than mandated under state law.

The City Council’s economic development committee voted unanimously Tuesday afternoon to forward the recommendation for three additional days of paid sick leave to the full City Council for consideration later this month.

Included in the recommendation was an allowance for employers to provide additional payments to workers in lieu of paid sick day accruals, a practice common in the entertainment sector.

If the Council approves the recommendation, Los Angeles would join Santa Monica, Oakland, San Francisco, and a handful of other California cities that require employers to provide paid coverage for additional sick days.

Supporters of the expanded mandate include labor unions and various health care and children’s advocacy groups. Those groups said the state’s requirement for employers to provide three days of paid sick leave does not go far enough. They had asked the city to consider adding additional days.

“We are gratified that the Economic Development Committee recommended a more inclusive, strong policy that will improve the health of L.A.’s working families and the public,” said Rusty Hicks, Executive Secretary-Treasurer of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor.

But opponents, including the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce and the California Restaurant Association, said the mandate will hurt small businesses, forcing them to essentially pay two workers when forced to call in a substitute for another worker out on sick leave. To offset this added cost, business owners may have to resort to layoffs.

“Like any mandated benefit, paid sick leave effectively increases the overall compensation package of employees,” said Matthew Sutton, vice president of government affairs and public policy for the California Restaurant Association. “When one form of compensation becomes more expensive, employers are forced to offset this newly added cost, and in this case eliminating jobs is a likely side effect.”

In a separate action, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday voted 4-1 to set up a wage enforcement bureau to handle claims of violations of the minimum wage increase to $15 an hour, which the board approved last year. The county’s Department of Consumer and Business Affairs will oversee the bureau.

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