On 7 April 2020, the City of Los Angeles implemented three executive orders that directly impact employers:
1. Supplemental paid sick leave due to COVID-19
This executive order requires certain employers to provide up to 80 hours of paid sick leave. Unless otherwise exempt, the order applies to employers who have either 500 or more employees in the City of Los Angeles or 2,000 or more employees within the United States.
Employers are exempt from the sick leave order if they:
Employees who work in Los Angeles and who have been employed by the same employer from 3 February 2020 through 4 March 2020 are entitled to supplemental paid sick leave if the employee is unable to work or telework due to a qualifying reason. The order exempts emergency and health services personnel and critical parcel delivery workers.
Employees qualify for supplemental paid sick leave if:
Amount of leave
Full-time employees are entitled to 80 hours of paid sick leave. All other employees are entitled to an amount no greater than the employee’s average two-week pay over the period of 3 February 2020 through 4 March 2020. Supplemental paid sick leave is capped at $511 per day and $5,110 in the aggregate.
Employers may be able to offset this obligation under certain circumstances, and should seek legal advice for additional information.
Employers must provide the supplemental paid sick leave upon the employee’s request. Employers are prohibited from asking employees to provide a doctor’s note or other documentation to support a request for supplemental paid sick leave.
Employers are prohibited from retaliating against employees who request supplemental paid sick leave. Employees claiming a violation of the order may seek reinstatement, front and back pay, any supplemental leave unlawfully withheld, and attorneys’ fees and costs.
2. Worker protection
The worker protection order applies to the following essential businesses:
These employers must:
These businesses are also encouraged but not required to install Plexiglas to separate cashiers and customers.
All essential, non-medical workers must wear the face coverings provided by their employers while at work. In addition, employees must wash the face covering at least once a day and properly dispose of single-use masks. Customers and visitors must wear coverings over their mouths and noses while shopping. Businesses may refuse service to anyone without a face covering.
Failure to comply with the order is a misdemeanour, subject to fines and imprisonment.
3. Grocery, drug retail and food delivery worker protection
Grocery stores and drugstores are required to approve an employee’s request to change a work schedule, and food delivery platforms must allow an employee to decline orders without negative repercussions for any of the following reasons:
Before hiring a new employee, grocery stores and drugstores must offer work to current employees, so long as it does not result in overtime and the employee is qualified to perform the work.
Food delivery platforms must offer employees a ‘no contact’ delivery method, as well as written guidance and detailed instructions on how to perform a ‘no contact’ delivery.
Employers may not retaliate against any employee for opposing any practice prescribed by the ordinance or otherwise asserting rights under the ordinance. Employees claiming a violation may file a lawsuit seeking reinstatement, back pay, and attorneys’ fees.