Los Angeles Ensures Employees Know Their Rights. Employers, Take Notice.
If Los Angeles was a person rather than a city, you could practically hear her telling employers, “It’s ON.”
The 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.
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.