The sick leave landscape is constantly evolving, and the City of Los Angeles is no exception to that rule. This past month the City of Los Angeles Office of Wage Standards (“OWS”) revised its rules and regulations (“Revised Rules”) as well the FAQs regarding its Minimum Wage and Paid Sick Leave Ordinance (the “Ordinance”). As reported on our website (click here), the City’s Ordinance originally was effective July 1, 2016. The OWS has now provided further clarification regarding several issues as detailed here:
The FAQs clarify that the Ordinance does not apply to “exempt employees.” According to the FAQs, such “exempt” employees include employees who are not “entitled to a minimum wage from any Employer under the California minimum wage law, as provided under California Labor Code section 1197 and wage orders published by the California Industrial Welfare Commission.” The FAQs further specify that such employees, who are not covered by the Ordinance, include exempt “white collar” employees. Regardless, it remains necessary to provide exempt employees with sick leave under California state law.
Rate of Pay
The Revised Rules also provide for the same rate of pay requirements as state law. Specifically, employers must either calculate sick leave rate of pay either: (1) in the same manner as the regular rate of pay for the workweek in which the sick leave is used (whether or not the Employee actually works overtime that workweek); or (2) by dividing total wages (excluding overtime premium pay) by the total number of hours worked in the full pay periods during the last 90 days of employment. Previously, the Ordinance, rules, and FAQs were silent on this issue.
Effective July 1, 2017, the Ordinance will apply to employers with 25 or fewer nonexempt Employees working in the City of Los Angeles (in addition to employers with more than 25 Employees, who were covered as of July 1, 2016). The Revised Rules provide that such smaller employers using a front-loading method on July 1, 2017, may provide 24 hours for the period covering July 1, 2017 to December 31, 2017. Effective January 1, 2018, the employer is required to provide the full 48 hours.
“Reasonable” Requests for Sick Leave
The Revised Rules also address the requisite notice for requesting sick leave. The originally published Rules provided that an employer could not deny an employee’s request to use sick leave if the employee communicated the request more than one hour before the beginning of the employee’s shift. Under the Revised Rules, an employee need only give notice “as soon as practical, as may occur in the case of unanticipated illness or a medical emergency” or provide “advance notice” for planned absences, such as doctor’s appointments.
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These are just some of the issues impacted by the Revised Rules and FAQs. Employers should review their policies to evaluate whether the revisions impact their businesses. Please contact Jackson Lewis if you have any legal questions regarding the Ordinance.