Los Angeles County Has Extended its 2020 COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave Requirement, Retroactive to January 1, 2021

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While the State of California and the federal government both let their respective laws requiring COVID-19 paid sick leave expire at the end of 2020, Los Angeles County belatedly passed an ordinance that retroactively requires employers in the unincorporated parts of Los Angeles County to provide COVID-19 supplemental paid sick leave.

LA County’s recent ordinance, which retroactively took effect on January 1, 2021, largely tracks the County’s previous COVID-19 supplemental paid sick leave ordinance, which did expire on December 31, 2020, but with some significant differences.

Covered Employers and Employees

While the 2020 ordinance only applied to employers with 500 or more employees, the 2021 ordinance covers any employer, regardless of size, with persons who perform work within the unincorporated parts of LA County. Like with the 2020 ordinance, employers may still exclude emergency responders and health care providers.

Amount of Required Supplemental Paid Sick Leave

Under the 2021 ordinance, covered employers need to provide full-time employees at least 80 hours of supplemental paid sick leave. A full-time employee is someone who the employer classifies as full-time or who works at least 40 hours per week. Covered employers need to provide part-time employees an amount of supplemental paid sick leave equal to the workers’ average two-week pay, based on the highest average two-week pay period between January 1, 2020, and January 1, 2021.

If an employee has used 80 hours of supplemental paid sick leave (or the part-time maximum), either under the FFCRA or the 2020 LA County ordinance, the employee is not entitled to additional leave. This means employers are not required to “re-load” employees’ supplemental paid sick leave or provide more than 80 hours per employee of supplemental paid sick leave during the totality of the COVID-19 pandemic.

As with the 2020 LA County ordinance, the maximum dollar amount of supplemental paid sick leave remains capped at $511 a day or $5,110 in total.

Eligible Reasons for Use of Supplemental Paid Sick Leave

The eligible reasons for supplemental paid sick leave remain the same as those from the 2020 Ordinance, which means it is available to employees upon written request when the employee cannot 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 isolation or quarantine order related to COVID-19;
  3. The employee is caring for a family member who is subject to a federal, state, or local isolation or quarantine 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.

Employers are allowed to require documentation from employees who request to use supplemental paid sick leave.

Effective Dates

While the 2021 ordinance was passed in late January, it retroactively took effect on January 1, 2021, and will remain in effect until two weeks after the expiration of the COVID-19 local emergency as declared by LA County.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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