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Entries in sick time (7)

Friday
Jun092017

Los Angeles Ensures Employees Know Their Rights. Employers, Take Notice.

Employment Defense

 

by Amy I. Huberman

818-907-3014

 

 

 

If Los Angeles was a person rather than a city, you could practically hear her telling employers, “It’s ON.

Minimum Wage Notice Los AngelesThe warning comes by way of a massive ad campaign to remind members of the working public they have certain rights regarding minimum wage and paid sick time – just in case employers fail to comply with these legal mandates. Witness the latest bus stop ads for example, in big, bold lettering, which sends a not-so-subtle reminder to Los Angeles workers. This one is right outside our offices on Ventura Boulevard in Encino:

In case you can’t read the graphics on the bus stop wall, here’s what it comes down to: As of July 1, 2017 which is less than a month away, ALL employers with workers in Los Angeles will need to increase wages. 

For employers with 25 or fewer employees, that means raising minimum hourly pay to $10.50 per hour. For companies with 26 or more employees, minimum hourly rates will increase to $12.00 per hour.

The chart below illustrates the scheduled increases through 2021 – after 2021, minimum hourly wage rates will be based on Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners, according to the Los Angeles Ordinance. 

Los Angeles Minimum Wage & Sick Pay

48 Hours Paid Sick  Leave in Los Angeles

Employees who perform at least two hours of work in a particular week in the City of Los Angeles are entitled to a greater amount of paid sick leave than California law mandates, pursuant to the City of Los Angeles Paid Sick Leave ordinance. These employees must be provided with one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked, or 48 hours each year. Larger companies (26+ employees) should have begun compliance last July. This July 1st, the rules apply to employers with 25 or fewer employees as well.

Ban the Box Penalties

The Fair Chance Initiative for Hiring Ordinance (FCIHO, a/k/a Los Angeles’ “Ban the Box” initiative) has been in effect since January 22nd of this year. This means that employers may not inquire about a job candidate’s criminal history until AFTER an initial offer of employment has been made.

There are strict rules regarding the “Fair Chance Process” and withdrawing job offers, should a criminal history be discovered.  Employers should proceed with caution. Go to Hiring and Firing in Los Angeles: Fair Chance Initiative Update, for more information.

Starting July 1st of this year, fines will  be imposed on employers who violate the rules According to the city’s Administrative Fine Schedule, they amount to $500 for the first violation, $1,000 for the second, and $2,000 for the third and subsequent violations.

These are the current rules specific to employers in Los Angeles, or employers headquartered elsewhere but have employees performing work within Los Angeles. Other cities (San Francisco comes to mind) may have stricter regulations.

Employers should follow a general rule of thumb: local laws tend to be stricter than county ordinances, which tend to be stricter than California regulations, and state regs tend to trump federal law. That isn’t always the case of course. But employers should always follow the higher standard.

Amy I. Huberman is an Employment Defense Attorney.

Disclaimer:
This Blog/Web Site is made available by the lawyer or law firm publisher for educational purposes only, to provide general information and a general understanding of the law, not to provide specific legal advice. By using this blog site you understand there is no attorney client relationship between you and the Blog/Web Site publisher. The Blog/Web Site should not be used as a substitute for obtaining legal advice from a licensed professional attorney in your state.

Monday
Aug012016

Employers' Guide to Los Angeles' Sick Leave & Minimum Wage Ordinance

Employment Defense

by Tal Burnovski Yeyni

818-907-3224

 

Most Los Angeles employers know the City Council implemented a new sick leave ordinance for employees working within the City of L.A. on June 2016.

However, as the Sick Time Benefits section was added to an existing Minimum Wage Ordinance, there has been some confusion over definitions and compliance dates.

Last week the City published revised FAQs and updated Regulations which shed some light over unanswered questions. Here is what we know about the City of Los Angeles Sick Leave Ordinance as of now: 

  • “Employee”: Section 187.04(A) of the Ordinance states that “every employee ... is entitled to paid sick leave”. The FAQs clarify that an Employee is: 

1. “any individual who performs at least two hours of work in a particular week within the geographic boundaries of the City of Los Angeles”; and

2. “... entitled to payment of a minimum wage from any Employer under the California minimum wage law...”

Accordingly, exempt employees are excluded from the definition of Employee under the Minimum Wage and Sick Leave Ordinance and not entitled to sick leave benefits under the Ordinance. Note, however, that exempt employees working within the City of Los Angeles are entitled to sick leave benefits under the California Healthy Workplace Healthy Family Act of 2014. Employees outside the City of Los Angeles might also be covered under another local ordinance (e.g., San Diego, Santa Monica, San Francisco, etc.) 

  • Los Angeles Sick Pay“Particular Week”: The Regulations explain that Particular Week “means any seven (7) consecutive days, starting with the same calendar day each week. “Week” for the purpose of the [Ordinance] ... shall be a fixed and regularly occurring period of seven (7) consecutive 24-hour periods which is equivalent to a period of 168 hours.

  • “30 Days Requirement”: To be eligible for sick leave under the Ordinance, an Employee [as defined above -- i.e., works two (2) hours within the City and entitled to minimum wage] must work within the City for the same Employer for 30 days or more within a year from the start of employment.

  • Employees Working in L.A. Sporadically:  As explained above, to be eligible for paid sick leave under L.A. Ordinance, an individual must meet the definition of Employee and work within the City of the same employer for 30 days or more within a year from the start of employment. But what happens when an Employee works in-and-out of the City?

    The Regulations offer the following explanation: “If an Employee continuously works for an Employer with only sporadic work time within the geographical boundaries of Los Angeles, ‘commencement of employment’ means the initial start date by the Employee for the Employer. The ‘year’ or 12 month period begins [on] the first ‘day’ the Employee works in the City. If the Employee has not worked a total of 30 days within that 12 month period, the Employee does not qualify for Sick Time Benefits".

    Accordingly, to determine whether Employers have to start complying with the Ordinance, Employers must track employees’ work within the City. Note that even as little as 10 minutes of work within the City is considered a work day. Once an Employee has 30 days of work for an Employer within the City, the Employee is eligible for sick leave benefits.

  • Compliance Date Based on Employer’s Size:  Section 187.04(A) of the Ordinance states that “Every employee who, on or after July 1, 2016, works it the City ... is entitled to paid sick leave.

    This was interpreted to mean that all Employers, regardless of size, must start complying with the Sick Leave Ordinance as of July 1, 2016. Wrong. The FAQs state there is a deferral schedule based on the size of the employer: “Paid sick leave applies on July 1, 2016 for Employers with 26 or more Employees, including Non-Profit Corporations with or without the minimum wage rate deferral. Paid sick leave applies on July 1, 2017 for Employers with 25 or fewer Employees.

  • Determining Size: The size of an Employer’s business shall be determined by the average number of Employees employed during the previous calendar year rounded up to the next whole number of Employees.  The Office of Wage Standards (OWS) recommends small businesses to complete the MW-2 Small Business Deferral Eligibility Worksheet, which can assist Employers in determining eligibility.

    An Employer should not submit MW-2 to the OWS, but instead retain it with supporting documents in the Employer’s records. Supporting documents may include, but are not limited to: Payroll records; Timesheets and/or attendance records; Quarterly Contribution Return and Report of Wage (DE9 and DE9Cs); Report of New Employees (DE 34).

  • Hours per Year: An eligible Employee is entitled to take up to 48 hours of paid sick leave annually. However, as with California Law, an Employee may use sick leave on or after 90 days of the first day of employment or July 1, 2016, whichever is later.

  • Calculating Methods:
    Front Loading Method: An Employer who chooses to provide sick leave based on the front-loading method must select one type of anniversary, either at the beginning of each year of employment, calendar year, or 12-month period. At each anniversary date, an Employer shall provide all 48 hours to an Employee.

    An Employer who uses the front-load method on a calendar year basis (January through January) may on July 1, 2016 (and only for the calendar year of 2016) provide 24 hours of sick leave for the period covering July 1, 2016 to December 31, 2016. On January 1, 2017, the Employer must front-load the full 48 hours.

    Accrual Method: An Employer who chooses to provide sick leave based on the accrual method must provide the Employee one (1) hour of sick leave per every thirty (30) hours worked. An Employee’s hours worked within L.A. must be tracked. The Regulations provide the following example for accrual: “a full-time Employee working a 40-hour work week within City boundaries (160-hours a month) will accrue 5.33 hours which must be available for use no later than 90 days after the first day of employment.

    Employers may select either the front-loading method or accrual method and may switch between the front-loading method or the accrual method only on an annual basis.

  • 72 Hour Cap: Unused sick leave, either accrued or front-loaded, must be carried over to the following year, but the Employer may cap carry-over (and accrual) at 72 hours. This is where the L.A. city ordinance substantially differs from California law, which does not require carry-over when sick leave time is front-loaded.

  • Permissible Uses: The Sick Leave Ordinance allows employees to take paid sick leave for all permissible uses under the Healthy Workplace Healthy Family Act of 2014, and to care for “any individual related by blood or affinity whose close association with the Employee is the equivalent of a family relationship.” However, it is unclear what an “individual related by blood or affinity” means.

  • Doctor’s Note: While California Law is silent on whether Employers can require Employees to provide documentation, the FAQs state that documentation is allowed only after an Employee has used more than three (3) consecutive days of sick leave. A demand to provide description or explanation of the illness or condition necessitating the Employee’s leave is prohibited.

  • Geographic Boundaries:  The FAQs also refer to a new map which could help determine if a specific address/workplace, is within the City of L.A. (http://neighborhoodinfo.lacity.org/). “If an address is located within the boundaries of the City of Los Angeles and is correctly entered, then the search will locate the address on the map with detailed address information.” 

The FAQs and Regulations also contain helpful and important information concerning the Minimum Wage section of the Ordinance.

For example, the Regulations state any changes in the number of Employees shall not impact the Employer’s status as a small business for purposes of the Minimum Wage deferral schedule. If an Employer’s average number of Employees from the previous calendar year was twenty five (25) or fewer, it shall pay based on the deferral schedule regardless of the changes in number of Employees for duration of the minimum wage schedule.

There is also valuable information concerning tracking of Employees’ time for work performed within the City and recommendations concerning required documentation regarding Employees’ hours.  

Employers can also visit http://wagesla.lacity.org/ for additional information, relevant notices,  posters and helpful charts.

Changes to Federal Employment Postings

Last week the U.S. Department of Labor announced changes to two mandatory posters, which go into effect immediately. As of August 1, 2016, employers must post the revised versions of the Federal Minimum Wage notice and the Employee Polygraph Protection Act notice. You can find revised notices here and here.

If you have questions concerning compliance with the Minimum Wage and Sick Leave Ordinance or other local ordinances and California Laws, contact employment defense counsel as soon as possible.

 

Tal Burnovski Yeyni is an attorney in our Employment Practice Group

Disclaimer:
This Blog/Web Site is made available by the lawyer or law firm publisher for educational purposes only, to provide general information and a general understanding of the law, not to provide specific legal advice. By using this blog site you understand there is no attorney client relationship between you and the Blog/Web Site publisher. The Blog/Web Site should not be used as a substitute for obtaining legal advice from a licensed professional attorney in your state.

Tuesday
Jun072016

Los Angeles Employers: Administer This New Policy, Stat!

Lawyer for EmployersEmployment Compliance

by Tal Burnovski Yeyni

818-907-3224

 

In April, we wrote that Los Angeles City Council voted to enact a sick leave ordinance in Los Angeles, which will provide six days of paid sick leave to employees in the city. Last week, the City Council adopted the ordinance and made L.A.’s sick leave policy official

Operative Date and Coverage 

Pursuant to the new Ordinance, every employee who, on or after July 1, 2016, works in the City for the same employer for 30 days or more within a year of employment, is entitled to paid sick leave. Accrual of paid sick leave under the Ordinance must start on July 1, 2016 or on the first date of employment, whichever is later. 

An “employee is defined as any individual who performs at least two (2) hours of work in a particular week within the City (and qualifies as an employee under California Law). 

An “employer is defined as any person, including a corporate officer or executive who directly or indirectly, or through an agent or another person including through the services of a temporary service or staffing agency, employs or exercises control over the wages, hours or working conditions or any employee. 

Thus, per the new Sick Leave Ordinance, the duty to comply is determined by the location of the employee. Further, the Ordinance may place individual liability on officers of the company and creates joint liability for client-employers. In that respect, the ordinance mirrors Labor Code 2810.3.   

Use of Paid Sick Leave

While the California Paid Sick Leave Law requires employers to provide, at minimum, three days or 24 hours (the greater) of paid sick leave per year, Los Angeles Sick Leave Ordinance sets a minimum of 48 hours of paid sick leave per year of employment. Employers may either “front-load” the days or allow employees to accrue one (1) hour of paid sick leave per every 30 hours worked. 

If accrued, employers may place a cap at 72 hours (or higher). Further, the LA Ordinance clarifies that if an employer has a paid leave or paid time off policy that is equal to or no less than 48 hours, no additional time is required. 

The Ordinance is not only more generous in the amount of paid sick leave, but it also defines the permitted use more broadly. Thus, under the ordinance employees may use paid sick leave for themselves or a family member as defined by Labor Code 246.5(a) and 245.5(C), or for “any individual related by blood or affinity whose close association with the employee is the equivalent of a family relationship.”   

Practical Implications for Employers

Review sick leave/paid time off policies to verify they comply with Los Angeles’s new requirements. As with state Paid Sick Leave Law any retaliation against employees for requesting to use paid sick leave or actually using paid sick leave, etc. is prohibited.

Further, while the new Ordinance allows employers to require reasonable documentation for absence from work for sick leave, note it is unclear whether this is permitted under California law.

Labor Code 247.5(b) states an employer is not obligated to inquire into or record the purpose for which an employee uses paid leave or paid time off. And in the FAQ regarding the state’s Sick Leave Law, the Department of Industrial Relations stated that if employees are subject to local sick leave ordinances, the employer must provide the provision or benefit that is most generous to the employee. As it is unclear whether “not obligated” is more generous than “may require” employers should consider consulting an employment attorney before asking employees to provide reasonable documentation.

Tal Burnovski Yeyni is an attorney in our Employment Practice Group

Disclaimer:
This Blog/Web Site is made available by the lawyer or law firm publisher for educational purposes only, to provide general information and a general understanding of the law, not to provide specific legal advice. By using this blog site you understand there is no attorney client relationship between you and the Blog/Web Site publisher. The Blog/Web Site should not be used as a substitute for obtaining legal advice from a licensed professional attorney in your state.

Wednesday
Apr202016

That's Just Sick: Paid Sick Days May Increase in Los Angeles

Lawyer for EmployersAttorney for Employers

 

by Tal Burnovski Yeyni

818-907-3224

 

Yesterday, the Los Angeles City Council voted to require employers to offer employees at least six days of paid sick leave per year, twice the minimum amount required under California law. If finally approved, Los Angeles will join more than a dozen cities who have established their own paid sick leave standards. 

In yesterday’s meeting, City Council has asked the City Attorney to prepare and present an Ordinance that should include, among others, the following provisions: 

  • An employee who, on or after July 1, 2016, works in the City for the same employer for 30 days or more within a year from the commencement of employment, is entitled to paid sick leave.

  • Paid sick leave shall begin on the first day of employment or July 1, 2016, whichever is later.

  • Employees will be entitled to take 48 hours of leave per calendar year, that must be provided up front by the employer, or accrued at the rate of one hour per every 30 hours worked.

  • Accrued paid sick leave shall carry over to the following year of employment and may be capped at 72 hours; an employer may set a higher cap or no cap at all.

In response to the City Council’s vote, Mayor Eric Garcetti issued the following statement:

Paid sick leave means a world of difference to working people and their families. That’s why it is important for L.A. to not just comply with state law, but take it a step further on behalf of our people. We set a tone for California and the nation by leading on the minimum wage increase, but we could do more in guaranteeing that people's jobs are secure in the face of illness. We are fixing that, and I'm proud to stand with my City Council colleagues on the principle that workers need and deserve these protections.

Final vote on the Ordinance is expected to take place within the next month. We will keep you posted on further updates. 

Tal Burnovski Yeyni is an attorney in our Employment Practice Group

Disclaimer:
This Blog/Web Site is made available by the lawyer or law firm publisher for educational purposes only, to provide general information and a general understanding of the law, not to provide specific legal advice. By using this blog site you understand there is no attorney client relationship between you and the Blog/Web Site publisher. The Blog/Web Site should not be used as a substitute for obtaining legal advice from a licensed professional attorney in your state.

Tuesday
Dec022014

California's New Sick Leave Law: New Posting & Notice Requirements Effective January 1

Lawyer for EmployerEmployment Defense Attorney

 

 

by Nicole Kamm

818.907.3235

 

 

Big changes await employers in 2015, but even before the New Year begins, employers should add this item to their lists:

Download the new Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE) poster regarding California’s new sick leave law and Notice to Employee (links below), which now includes required information about paid sick leave. 

 

Employer Compliance

 

The new poster notifies employees of their rights under Assembly Bill 1522, or the Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act of 2014 – which obligates employers to provide most California employees at least one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours of work, or no less than 24 hours (three days) per year.

Employers must display the poster in a conspicuous location, i.e. in the break room, near the time clock, etc. Employers may use the template poster or create their own, however self-made posters should make sure to comply with the requirements of the new Labor Code §247.

While an employee’s entitlement to paid sick leave does not go into effect until July 1, 2015, according to the DLSE website, the posting requirement is effective January 1, 2015. Click here to download the new DLSE Paid Sick Leave Poster.

The DLSE also issued a revised "Notice to Employee," which must be given to all non-exempt employees. As required by the amended Labor Code §2810.5, the notice must include information regarding how sick time is accrued and state that an employer may not retaliate against or terminate an employee for using paid sick leave.

In addition to the previous required  information such as name, address, pay, etc., the employer will now need to choose one of four options on page two of the form, indicating:

□ Accrues paid sick leave only pursuant to the minimum requirements stated in Labor Code §245 et seq. with no  other employer policy providing additional or different terms for accrual and use of paid sick leave.

□ Accrues paid sick leave pursuant to the employer’s policy which satisfies or exceeds the accrual, carryover, and  use requirements of Labor Code §246.

□ Employer provides no less than 24 hours (or 3 days) of paid sick leave at the beginning of each 12-month period.

□ The employee is exempt from paid sick leave protection by Labor Code §245.5. (State exemption and specific subsection for exemption):______________.

As with the poster, the revised Notice to Employee must be used for all new hires starting January 1, 2015. Employers who already provide paid sick time will need to review their policies to ensure compliance with the new law. 

Nicole Kamm is an attorney in our Employment Practice Group. Call her direct line: 818.907.3235, or email: nkamm@lewitthackman.com for more information.

Disclaimer:
This Blog/Web Site is made available by the lawyer or law firm publisher for educational purposes only, to provide general information and a general understanding of the law, not to provide specific legal advice. By using this blog site you understand there is no attorney client relationship between you and the Blog/Web Site publisher. The Blog/Web Site should not be used as a substitute for obtaining legal advice from a licensed professional attorney in your state.

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