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Tuesday, May 17, 2022

L.A. Council Passes Paid Sick Leave Policy

The Los Angeles City Council on Tuesday voted overwhelmingly to proceed with crafting an ordinance requiring all employers in the city to provide six days of paid sick leave a year to their workers, three days more than mandated under state law.

The council’s 13-1 vote instructs City Attorney Mike Feuer to craft the ordinance, which then will come back to the council for a final vote in a few weeks. If approved by the council and signed by Mayor Eric Garcetti, the new law would go into effect on July 1 – and a year later for employers with fewer than 25 employees.

“Paid sick leave means a world of difference to working people and their families,” L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti said in a statement following the vote. “That’s why it is important for L.A. to not just comply with state law, but take it a step further on behalf of our people.”

If the Council approves the final ordinance, 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.

As under the state law, workers would accumulate paid sick days from their employers after July 1 at a rate if one hour for every 30 hours worked. (Workers on the job less than 90 days as of July 1 would have to wait until they complete their 90 days before accumulating paid sick time.)

The accumulation would stop after 48 hours (six days) of paid sick leave has been reached for that calendar year; unused paid sick time can be carried over into the following year, with an employer having the option to cap total paid sick time at 72 hours.

The proposal also states that retaliation by employers against workers who request or use paid sick leave days is prohibited. But a provision that would have allowed employers to provide additional payments to workers in lieu of paid sick day accruals – a practice common in the entertainment sector – was not in the proposal sent to the city attorney.

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.

But opponents, including the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce and the California Restaurant Association, said the mandate will force business to essentially pay two workers when having to call in substitute workers.

Read the Business Journal’s previous coverage here.

Howard Fine
Howard Fine
Howard Fine is a 23-year veteran of the Los Angeles Business Journal. He covers stories pertaining to healthcare, biomedicine, energy, engineering, construction, and infrastructure. He has won several awards, including Best Body of Work for a single reporter from the Alliance of Area Business Publishers and Distinguished Journalist of the Year from the Society of Professional Journalists.

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