Los Angeles Employers Beware! Minimum Wage and Sick Leave Changes Start July 1, 2022

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All employers in Los Angeles should revisit employment practices to ensure compliance with local ordinances as many changes take effect on July 1, 2022.  

Effective July 1, 2022, the City of Los Angeles’ minimum wage will increase to $16.04 for all covered employees from $15.00/hour. Covered employees are those who perform at least 2 hours of work in any week within the City of Los Angeles, including full-time, part-time, seasonal, or temporary employees. 

Hotel employers with 150 or more guest rooms will be required to pay an even higher minimum wage of $18.17. Full-time covered hotel employees will also receive 96 compensated hours off per year for sick leave, vacation, or personal necessity. Covered full-time employees are also entitled to 80 additional uncompensated hours off per year for sick leave. Employers should consider how this new leave interacts with other leave requirements under Paid Sick Leave, FMLA, CFRA, disability leave, and COVID Supplemental Paid Sick Leave.  

Los Angeles also has its own paid sick leave requirements that exceed California’s requisite hours. Los Angeles employers must either grant 48 hours at the beginning of each year or 12-month period or allow accrual at no less than one hour for every 30 hours worked. Employers may cap usage at 48 hours of leave annually but they cannot cap total accrual to less than 72 hours.  Accrued sick hours do not need to be paid upon separation of employment. If an employee is rehired within 1 year, the employer must reinstate previously accrued sick leave.  Sick leave may be used for employees themselves or for taking care of a family member. 

Employers that conduct background checks before hiring should work with counsel to evaluate their practices. The City of Los Angeles’ “ban the box” ordinance bars employers of at least 10 employees in the City from inquiring into a job applicant’s criminal history on job applications or postings. In fact, employers cannot inquire about a job applicant’s criminal history until after a job offer has been made. And, if a job offer is withdrawn due to the applicant’s criminal history, the job applicant has additional rights to contest the decision. Exceptions exist for employers who are required by law to conduct background checks. Employers should consider how this interacts with the FCRA, ICRAA, and CCRAA. 

It is important to check the local ordinances to stay current on employment laws. Surrounding areas like West Hollywood also have their own ordinance.

If you have any questions or need a plan to implement a new compensation scheme, now is a good time to consult with legal counsel. Early actions and planning can help avoid large litigation bills down the road!

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