As we reported previously, on March 27, 2020, the Los Angeles City Council passed an ordinance requiring large employers to provide emergency supplemental paid sick leave to employees affected by COVID-19 who work in the city limits. The ordinance was set to take effect upon signing by Mayor Eric Garcetti as emergency legislation.
However, last night, Mayor Garcetti returned the ordinance to the City Council unsigned, instead issuing a Public Order requiring paid sick leave under his emergency authority. Mayor Garcetti applauded the City Council for passing a supplemental paid sick leave ordinance, but found that the ordinance as drafted needed modification to strike a better balance between helping workers who will likely suffer through layoffs if the City imposes excessive burdens and costs upon businesses, and ensuring that City regulations do not unintentionally cause staffing shortages at hospitals and critical health facilities during the pandemic. The Mayor’s Public Order supersedes the March 27 City Council ordinance, and will remain in effect until two calendar weeks after the expiration of the COVID-19 local emergency period.
The Public Order is available here, and we have summarized its key provisions below. It creates new exemptions for employers with more generous leave programs, and gives credit for paid leave during closures.
Covered Employers, Employees and Required Leave
The Public Order applies to employers with (i) 500 or more employees within the City of Los Angeles or (ii) 2,000 or more employees within the United States. Employers who do not meet these criteria are not required to provide sick leave – a change from the City Council ordinance that would have applied to employers with 500 or more employees anywhere in the U.S.