On May 19th, the City of Long Beach passed its own COVID-19 related Paid Sick Leave law, becoming the 6th California locality to do so. The law is effective immediately and has considerable overlap with the COVID-19 Paid Sick Leave laws passed by other localities with a few key differences. 

Covered Employers.  Employers are covered by the Paid Sick Leave law if they have 500 or more employees nationwide and are not required to provide paid sick leave, in whole or in part, under the FFCRA.

Eligible Employees . Employees are entitled to the paid sick leave if they perform work within the geographic boundaries of the City of Long Beach and satisfy a qualifying reason for the leave.

Exempt Employees.  Health care providers, emergency responders, and government employees are not entitled to the paid sick leave. Employees that can work from home and are healthy enough to do so are also exempt. Moreover, employees that receive 160 hours of paid leave or paid time off annually from their employer are not entitled to the leave.

Qualifying Reasons.  Employees may use the paid sick leave for any of the following reasons:

  1. Subject to quarantine or isolation by federal, state or local order due to COVID-19 or is caring for someone who is quarantined or isolated due to COVID-19
  2. Advised by health-care provider to self-quarantine or is caring for someone who is
  3. Experiences COVID-19 symptoms and is seeking medical diagnosis
  4. Caring for a minor child because the child’s school, daycare, or childcare provider is closed or unavailable because of COVID-19 and employee is unable to secure a reasonable alternative caregiver

Amount of Leave & Rate of Pay . Full time employees are entitled to 80 hours of paid sick leave and part-time employees are entitled to the average number of hours worked over a two-week period.

Part-time employees daily amount of paid leave is calculated based on the average number of hours they worked per day during the six months preceding May 19, 2020. If an employee has been employed for fewer than six months, then the amount of paid sick leave is calculated based on the average hours the employer expected the employee to work per day at the time of hire.

Paid sick leave is paid at the employee’s regular rate of pay, with a maximum of $511 per day and $5,110 total. If the qualifying reason for the leave involves care for another person, then the paid sick leave is paid at 2/3rds regular rate with a maximum of $200 per day and $2,000 total.

Requesting Documentation.  An employer may require employees to identify the basis for requesting the paid sick leave but may not require a doctor’s note or other documentation.

Offset.  An employer’s obligation to provide paid sick leave is reduced for every hour an employer provided an employee with paid sick leave in an amount equal to the supplemental paid leave for a qualifying reason or in response to an employee’s inability to work due to COVID-19.

CBA Exemption.  A collective bargaining agreement in place as of May 19, 2020 may supersede the Paid Sick Leave law if it contains COVID-19 related sick leave provisions. A collective bargaining agreement may waive the requirements of the Paid Sick Leave law via a clear and unambiguous waiver.

We will continue to keep you updated on any major COVID-19 related developments that impact the workplace. If you have any questions about the matters discussed in this issue of Compliance Matters, please call your firm contact at 818-508-3700 or visit us online at   www.brgslaw.com  .

Richard S. Rosenberg
Katherine A. Hren
Charles Foster
Ballard Rosenberg Golper & Savitt, LLP