L.A. County COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave Ordinance

On April 28, 2020, the Board of Supervisors approved an interim urgency ordinance providing supplemental paid sick leave benefits requiring employers with over 500 employees nationally located within the unincorporated areas of the County of Los Angeles and that fall under the jurisdiction of the County of Los Angeles, to provide its employees with 10 days or 80 hours of supplemental paid sick leave for COVID-19 related reasons for the term of the emergency, to ensure that workers who have symptoms can stay home to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

L.A. County Supplemental Paid Leave: Frequently Asked Questions

Does Chapter 8.200 of the Los Angeles County Code, requiring supplemental paid sick leave, apply countywide?

No. Chapter 8.200 applies only to the unincorporated areas of Los Angeles County. To find out if your business is in an unincorporated area, use the “Find Your District” feature at https://lavote.net/apps/precinctsmaps and select “District Map Look Up By Address.”

When calculating pay due to employees, must overtime hours be included?

Yes. Chapter 8.200 requires you to pay an employee for hours the employee would have been normally scheduled to work even if that is more than 40 hours in a week.

However, the Chapter 8.200 requires that paid sick leave be paid only up to 80 hours over a two-week period. For example, an employee who is scheduled to work 50 hours a week may take 50 hours of paid sick leave in the first week and 30 hours of paid sick leave in the second week. In any event, the total number of hours paid under Chapter 8.200 is capped at 80.

Please keep in mind the daily and aggregate caps placed on any pay for paid sick leave.

When calculating pay due to employees, must commissions, tips, or piece rates be included?

Yes. If an employee is paid with commissions, tips, or piece rates, these amounts will be incorporated into the calculation.

Is the “highest average” within a payroll period then converted into an hourly rate for the purpose of determining the rate provided for paid sick leave?

Yes. If between January 1, 2020 and April 28, 2020, an employer paid an employee exclusively through a fixed hourly wage or a salary equivalent, the average rate would equal the hourly wage or the hourly-equivalent of their salary.

What if January 1, 2020 and April 28, 2020 do not line up with payroll dates, i.e., they are not representative of the beginning or end of a payroll period for the employer. Is the employer able to use the closest date that represents the beginning and end of the payroll period?

Section 8.200.030 (B)(1) provides that paid sick leave shall be calculated based on an employee’s highest average two week pay over the period of January 1, 2020 through the effective date of April 28, 2020. The Chapter does not require that the payroll periods have to begin on the specified dates rather that the payroll periods used to calculate the average occur during the specified timeframe.

Are part-time employees, who work less than 80 hours in a two-week period, entitled to no more than what they would earn in a two-week period?

An employee who is not a full-time employee is one who works less than 40 hours per week. The non-full-time employee is entitled to receive supplemental paid sick leave in an amount no greater than the employee’s average two week pay over the period of January 1, 2020 through the effective date of April 28, 2020.

Please keep in mind the daily and aggregate caps placed on any pay for paid sick leave.

If an employee, due to telework, performs their work in the County of Los Angeles, and the employer is located outside of the County does the County's COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave Ordinance protections apply to that employee?

Yes, the County’s protections apply to the employee if the employee “performs any work within the geographic boundaries of the County for an Employer.

Does the ordinance apply or is compatible with Gov. Newsom's orders? (I.e. Can an employee use emergency sick leave if they are not sick?)

An eligible employee may use the paid leave if the employee cannot or telework, because:
1. 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 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 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. (County Code section 8.200.040.)

If the employer temporarily furloughed employees because there is no work to do, are the employee eligible for the paid leave?

If an employer furloughs an employee because the employer does not have enough work for an employee to do, the employee is not entitled to take paid sick leave. However, the employee may be eligible for unemployment insurance benefits. Further, the employee may receive the benefits of the COVID-19 Right of Recall Ordinance.

If an employee tells their employer that they tested positive for COVID-19 and cannot work, does the employer need to inform the employee of their eligibility for this leave?

Yes. Further, violations of the Ordinance may subject the employer to damages, including attorneys’ fees.

If an employee informs their employer of a situation that would make them eligible for leave, but does not request emergency sick leave, does the employer have to give the employee emergency sick leave (or inform them that they can take emergency sick leave if they want)?

If the employee cannot work, or telework, and is eligible for the leave then the employer must offer the COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave and allow the employee to use that leave. Further, violations of the Ordinance will subject the employer to damages, including attorneys’ fees.

Are there any posting requirements for this leave? How are the employees made aware of this leave?

Each covered employer must post a notice of the Supplemental Paid Sick Leave Ordinance requirements in a conspicuous place on its premises. An employer may satisfy this requirement by emailing or direct mailing this notice to employees, or posting this notice on an employee information internal or external website.

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