LOS ANGELES (Legal Newsline) – Los Angeles and Santa Monica are among several cities within California changing the paid sick leave benefits to employees working within their city limits.
The new requirements for both cities apply to any employee who works at least two hours within the cities of Los Angeles and Santa Monica. In both cities, sick time is paid to any employee on the 90th day of their employment and any unused time must be paid out upon termination.
Navigating the new requirements can be a challenge for employers, Kelly O. Scott, partner at Ervin Cohen & Jessup, told the Legal Newsline.
“I can tell you that it’s mind boggling to a lot of them, especially when you have a business that’s located in multiple locations," he said. "The way these things are written, you don’t even have to have a separate location, if you have employees that are in the field and only work a couple of hours a week in one of these municipalities, you are subject to the law.”
Scott said it's a "tough standard for employers to adopt.”
In Los Angeles, the new law starts on July 1 and allows all employees to use up to 48 hours of sick time a year. Any time that has been accrued, but not used, must carry over to the next year. This can be capped at 72 hours or more. Accrued sick time must occur at a rate of one hour per 30 hours worked, or have the full 48 hours given at the start of each year or 12-month period.
Under the law, employees must work for an employer in Los Angeles for a minimum of 30 days to receive benefits, which is consistent with California’s Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act.
In Santa Monica, the law requires sick time to accrue at a rate of one hour per 30 hours worked, or the full amount can be given at the start of the year or 12-month period. Unique to Santa Monica is its sick time hours being designated by size of employer. The law also states that if the full amount of sick time is provided at the beginning of the year, no carry over is required.
Both Los Angeles and Santa Monica laws state that any employee who stops employment and is rehired within a year by the same company must have any sick time they didn’t use reinstated.
The new laws are ripe for lawsuits against employers that don’t comply, Scott said.
“These types of claims, while they can certainly be brought by individuals, they’re ideal for class actions," he said.
"You have a rule that is likely part of a policy that an employer has that is typically going to be black and white in compliance or black and white not in compliance.
"That allows lawyers to bring a pretty simple class action claim that if they are not in compliance is pretty easy to win. It’s just another thing that business have to worry about. It’s another potential cost to doing business in this state.”