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Los Angeles OKs 2-Week Sick Leave for Workers at Large Companies

March 28, 2020, 1:20 AM

The Los Angeles City Council passed an ordinance to mandate at least 10 days of supplemental paid sick leave for employees at large companies in the country’s second-largest city.

During an emergency teleconference Friday, the 15-member council voted unanimously in favor of the ordinance, which now goes to Mayor Eric Garcetti’s desk for his consideration.

The ordinance offers 80 hours of paid sick leave to full-time employees, based on the average two weeks of pay between Feb. 3 and March 4. It’s intended to fill the gap in the federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act (H.R. 6201), which provides two weeks of leave if a worker is sick or must care for a sick family member, but exempts companies with more than 500 employees.

Small businesses with fewer than 50 workers are required to provide sick leave under H.R. 6201, but may request an exemption from the U.S. Labor Department.

“The stimulus plan, the way I understand it, does not have a bailout for working people,” council President Nury Martinez said. “We owe it to them to ensure that somebody is protecting them.”

The ordinance also may be waived in a collective bargaining agreement between the employer and the workplace’s union.

Even with the high threshold for employees, some members argued that the sick leave mandate would cause irreparable harm.

“I’ve got a caterer with 520 employees and I know they’ve already been decimated,” Councilwoman Monica Rodriguez said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Tiffany Stecker in Sacramento, Calif. at tstecker@bgov.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Martha Mueller Neff at mmuellerneff@bloomberglaw.com; Tina May at tmay@bloomberglaw.com

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