Seyfarth SynopsisOn January 26, 2021, the County of Los Angeles passed an ordinance requiring both large and small employers in unincorporated parts of the County to provide supplemental COVID-19 related paid sick leave.

In the wake of the expiration of Families First Coronavirus Response Act (“FFCRA”)’s paid sick leave, and California’s state-wide COVID-19 supplemental paid sick leave, many locales (such as the Cities of Sacramento, Oakland, San Jose, and Sacramento and San Mateo Counties) have extended their COVID-19 paid sick leave ordinances.  On January 26, 2021, Los Angeles County followed suit with an ordinance that became effective immediately, and retroactively applies as of January 1, 2021.

While the newly amended Los Angeles ordinance largely tracks the County’s previous ordinance, which expired December 31, 2020, notable differences are outlined below.

Covered Employers. Unlike the original ordinance, which covered employers with 500 or more employees nationwide, the amended ordinance requires both large and small private employers in unincorporated parts of Los Angeles County to provide Supplemental Paid Sick Leave (“SPSL”).  There is no longer a threshold based on the number of employees.

Covered Employees. The ordinance covers persons who perform any work within the unincorporated parts of the County.  As was the case with the original ordinance, employers may still exclude Emergency Responders and Health Care Providers.

Amount of SPSL Required and Offset Against FFCRA Leave. Employees classified as full-time or who work at least 40 hours per week receive a maximum of 80 hours of SPSL under either the federal FFCRA or the ordinance.  If an employee exhausted available FFCRA leave for a covered reason, or already exhausted leave available under the original County ordinance, the employee is not entitled to additional County leave.

Employees who are not classified as full-time, or work less than 40 hours per week, still receive SPSL in an amount not greater than their average two-week pay.

The SPSL is calculated based on the employee’s highest average two-week pay between January 1, 2020 and the effective date of the ordinance.

The maximum amount of SPSL remains $511 per day or $5,110 in total.

Covered Reasons. As was the case with the original ordinance, SPSL is available upon written request (including text or email) when the employee cannot work or telework because (1) a public health official or healthcare provider requires or recommends that the employee self-isolate or 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 is caring 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 isolate or self-quarantine; or (4) the employee needs time off to care for a family member whose senior care provider, school, or child care provider has ceased operations in response to a public official’s recommendation.

The ordinance permits employers to require documentation for employees to use SPSL.

Immediate Effect of Ordinance.  The ordinance takes immediate effect and applies retroactively as of January 1, 2021.

Expiration of Ordinance.  The ordinance’s lifespan is currently indefinite.  Like the City of Los Angeles COVID-19 paid sick leave ordinance, the Los Angeles County ordinance will remain in effect until two calendar weeks after the expiration of the COVID-19 local emergency as declared by the County.

Workplace Solutions. Navigating a patchwork of COVID-19 laws continues to be a challenge. For more information on COVID-19 related issues, please contact the authors or your Seyfarth attorney.