The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors is the latest in a string of local California municipalities to pass an ordinance providing supplemental paid sick leave (SPSL) to workers not covered by the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA).
The Los Angeles County interim urgency ordinance affects businesses in the unincorporated areas of Los Angeles County employing 500 or more workers nationally. The new law requires covered employers to provide up to 80 hours of SPSL to an employee who makes a request in writing (including via email or text message) and who cannot work in person or remotely for one of the following reasons: (1) A public health official or health care provider requires or recommends the employee isolate or self-quarantine to prevent the spread of COVID-19; (2) The employee is subject to a federal, state, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19 (e.g., is at least 65 years old or has a health condition such as heart disease, asthma, lung disease, diabetes, kidney disease, or weakened immune system); (3) The employee needs to care for a family member (i.e., child, parent, or spouse) who is subject to a federal, state, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19 or has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine related to COVID-19; or (4) The employee takes time off work because the employee needs to provide care for a family member whose senior care provider or whose school or child care provider ceases operations in response to a public health or other public official’s recommendation.
Covered employers may require a doctor’s note or other documentation for the use of SPSL. Details on how to determine the number of hours and rate of pay are provided in the ordinance. As with the FFCRA, pay is capped at a maximum of $511 per day and $5,110 total for 80 hours of paid sick leave. This SPSL is provided in addition to California’s standard paid sick leave mandate and employers are prohibited from requiring employees to use any other paid or unpaid leave, paid time off, or vacation time provided by the employer before the employee uses SPSL, or in lieu of SPSL.
Although the ordinance was effective on April 28, 2020, employers are obligated to begin providing SPSL retroactively to March 31, 2020. However, if you provided “additional paid leave for COVID-19 related purposes (‘Voluntary COVID-19 Leave’), above and beyond an employee’s regular or previously accrued leaves (e.g., sick or personal leaves)” on or after March 31, 2020, you may reduce your obligation to provide SPSL by each hour of voluntary COVID-19 leave that you provided for any of the reasons specified.
Tips For Employers: The ordinance is set to remain in effect until December 31, 2020, unless the Board extends it. Food sector workers covered by Governor Gavin Newsom’s Executive Order N-51-20, which we reported on previously, are excluded from the order. Employers may also exclude emergency responder or health care provider employees. If you’re a covered employer with employees working in an unincorporated area of Los Angeles County, you should review the full ordinance for more details and contact your Vigilant Law Group employment attorney with any questions.
This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:
Correction: June 3, 2020
The FFCRA cap on pay was originally described as $511 per day and $5,110 per week. This was corrected to $511 per day and $5,110 total for 80 hours of paid sick leave.