United States: Los Angeles Paid Sick Leave Ordinance Requirements

On June 2, 2016, Mayor Garcetti approved a City of Los Angeles Paid Sick Leave Ordinance, and it will go into effect on July 1, 2016, along with the City of Los Angeles Minimum Wage Ordinance. We have outlined some of the key terms of the paid sick leave ordinance as well as highlighted differences with California's paid sick leave law.


Any employee who in a particular week performs at least two hours of work in Los Angeles for the employer and, on or after July 1, 2016, works in Los Angeles for the same employer for 30 days or more in a year will now be entitled to receive paid sick leave benefits. Unlike California law, which contains exceptions for construction workers, certain home health workers, flight crews, and workers covered by union agreements (if certain conditions are met), the Los Angeles ordinance has no such exceptions. While you are likely aware if your place of employment is within the boundaries of the City of Los Angeles, we have provided the attached interactive map set up by the City, showing the specific City of Los Angeles boundaries, to assist in determining whether this policy must be adopted. (http://zimas.lacity.org/)

It will be important to consider the implications of your employees transferring locations or traveling in and out of the City of Los Angeles in determining whether the Los Angeles Paid Sick Leave Ordinance will apply.


For businesses with 26 or more employees, Los Angeles ordinance compliant paid sick leave must start accruing on the first day of employment or July 1, 2016, whichever is later. Employees may use paid sick leave beginning on the 90th day of employment or July 1, 2016, whichever is later.

The language of the ordinance is frustratingly ambiguous with respect to when businesses with 25 or fewer employees will be required to comply with the paid sick leave provision. However, after consulting the Office of Wage Standards of the Bureau of Contract Administration, the municipal entity tasked with interpreting this ordinance, and reviewing the legislative history, it appears as though small businesses have a one year deferral, and will not be required to provide paid sick leave to their employees until July 1, 2017.

Usage Limit

Employees may take up to 48 hours of sick leave in each year of employment, calendar year, or 12-month period. This amount is double the annual amount under California law, meaning that most California employers will have to increase their "Usage Cap.

Accrual/Lump Sum Method

Employers may provide either: (1) the entire 48 hours to an employee at the beginning of each year of employment, calendar year, or 12-month period; or (2) provide one hour of paid sick leave per every 30 hours worked, which may be capped at 72 hours. This means that most California employers will have to increase their "Accrual Cap" to comply with this ordinance.


Unused paid sick leave carries over to the following year, up to the 72 hour Accrual Cap.

Note that California law provides that if an employer uses the "lump grant" method, then unused sick leave does not carry over and unused balance is simply replaced by the new lump grant each year. Under the Los Angeles ordinance, however, up to 72 hours must carry over from year to year. So, while an Los Angeles employee can use only 48 hours of sick pay in a year, the ordinance suggests (illogically) that the employee, even under the lump sum method, must be permitted carry over 72 hours of paid sick leave. Despite an interpretation of this ordinance which suggests that the 72 hours "carry over" requirement only applies to "accrued sick leave," in soliciting further guidance from the Office of Wage Standards of the Bureau of Contract Administration, it stated that the 72 hour "carry over" requirement applies regardless of which method used.

Paid Time Off Policy

If an employer has a paid leave or paid time off (PTO) policy that provides 48 hours or more of compensated time off, no additional time is required. This provision is frustratingly vague and provides no further guidance as to how an employer can rely on a paid leave or PTO policy to comply with this ordinance. Under California law, employers may meet their paid sick leave obligations through a PTO policy that uses an alternative accrual method so long as it essentially provides no less than 24 hours/3 days of paid sick leave by the 120th calendar day of employment in each year. Additionally, the California law contains a "grandfather provision," which provides for an additional alternative accrual method. The Los Angeles Ordinance is entirely silent on this issue, which seems to suggest that only the 48 hour lump sum or 1 hour for every 30 hours worked accrual method can be used to comply with this new law.

Family Members and Equivalents

Employers must provide paid sick leave upon the oral or written request of employees for themselves, family members as defined by the California paid sick leave law, or "any individual related by blood or affinity whose close association with the employee is the equivalent of a family relationship." As you can see, this is far broader than California law and essentially puts the employee in control of for whom he or she may use their paid sick leave.


Under the Los Angeles ordinance, the employer may require the employee to provide reasonable documentation. This provision of the Los Angeles City Ordinance potentially conflicts with the California state law. At this time, until further clarity with respect to the interplay with California law is provided, we recommend refraining from adopting any policy or practice which requires employees to submit documentation of an absence from work for which paid sick leave is or will be used.


An employer is not required to provide compensation to an employee for accrued or unused sick days upon separation of employment. However, if the employee is rehired with one year from the date of separation, previously accrued and unused paid sick time must be reinstated. Unlike California law, the Los Angeles ordinance has no exception to reinstatement of sick time if paid sick leave was paid out on termination.

Enforcement Agency

The Los Angeles city ordinance implemented a brand new administrative agency, the Office of Wage Standards of the Bureau of Contract Administration, as bearing administrative and enforcement responsibilities, which "may promulgate guidelines and rules for the implementation" of the ordinance. Of note, this agency may "allow an Employer's established paid leave or paid time off policy or one which provides payment for compensated time off to remain in place and comply with this article even though it does not meet all the requirements in Section 187.04, if [the agency] determines that the Employer's established policy is overall more generous." Importantly, as the California Department of Labor Standards and Enforcement rolled out, we expect the Office of Wage Standards to provide further guidance regarding this law, potentially through Guidelines, Rules, and/or Frequently Asked Questions. We also expect the Office of Wage Standards to update the Los Angeles City Minimum Wage Poster to include the paid sick leave benefits.

Notice Requirements

Employers in the City of Los Angeles will have to provide the following posting, http://wagesla.lacity.org/sites/g/files/wph471/f/Minimum%20Wage%20Poster%2011-17_0.pdf, regarding the City of Los Angeles minimum wage, and the Office of Wage Standards will likely be circulating a revised posting to address the City of Los Angeles Paid Sick Leave Ordinance prior to July 1, 2016. Additionally, employers who revise their paid sick leave policies to comply with the Los Angeles Ordinance, implicate the California state paid sick leave law notice requirements, which provide that employers must advise employees of any changes to the paid sick leave policy within seven days of the policy change. In most cases, we recommend providing employees affected by this policy change with a brief memo attaching the revised policy and informing employees that such will be implemented on July 1, 2016 in compliance with the City of Los Angeles Paid Sick Leave Ordinance. Moreover, for newly hired employees within the City of Los Angeles, an employer can continue to use the DLSE "Notice to Employee" form, but should check the box that applies in light of the City of Los Angeles policy revisions. For most employers, this will be "Box 2" – "2. Accrues paid sick leave pursuant to the employer's policy which satisfies or exceeds the accrual, carryover, and use requirements of Labor Code §246."

The Los Angeles City Ordinance is silent on a host of provisions addressed by the California state paid sick leave law. While we expect the Office of Wages Standards and Bureau of Contract Administration to provides further guidance on these issues, we are recommending that, unless there is a clear conflict with the California state regulations and the Los Angeles City Ordinance outlines greater protections for employees, an employer can maintain the compliant California state policy provisions.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Hilliary Powell
In association with
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Check to state you have read and
agree to our Terms and Conditions

Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

Use of www.mondaq.com

You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about Mondaq.com’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.


Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.


Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here .

If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq by clicking here .

Information Collection and Use

We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to unsubscribe@mondaq.com with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

Mondaq News Alerts

In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.


A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

Log Files

We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

Surveys & Contests

From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.


If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.


This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to webmaster@mondaq.com.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to EditorialAdvisor@mondaq.com.

Notification of Changes

If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

How to contact Mondaq

You can contact us with comments or queries at enquiries@mondaq.com.

If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at problems@mondaq.com and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.