The Motion Picture Association of America, a trade group for six large Hollywood movie studios, has come out against a possible amendment to the city’s $15 minimum wage law that would require employers to provide additional paid leave.
Mayor Eric Garcetti signed the $15-per-hour minimum wage into law last weekend, but with the first increase to $10.50 set for July 2016, city leaders are still considering potential amendments.
The Economic Development Committee is set to discuss adding a paid sick leave provision, and other possible changes to the minimum wage law on Tuesday. The panel last month voted to include in the city’s minimum wage law a paid sick leave provision that would be “consistent with previous city wage policies,” which offered up to 12 paid sick days.
But after the mayor and other city leaders said this provision had not received enough study, the provision was removed from the version of the ordinance that was recently adopted.
The proposed paid sick leave provision would “create an additional logistical financial and administrative burden for our industry,” Melissa Patack, MPAA’s vice president and state government affairs, wrote to the members of the City Council’s Economic Development Committee.
The MPAA is composed of Walt Disney Studios, Paramount Pictures, Son Pictures, Twentieth Century Fox, Universal Studios and Warner Bros.
Patack cited as hardships the jobs lost through runaway production — in which film productions are lured out of California by more attractive incentives in other states — as well as a state law that already will require employers to provide three paid sick leave days.
Patack wrote that productions “regularly film on location throughout the County of Los Angeles, crossing local boundaries on a daily basis,” and would need to keep separate accounting books depending on whether employees are working under the city’s paid sick leave laws, and the state’s policy, which would require employers to provide three days of paid sick leave.
“Moreover, employees regularly work for multiple employers within a single year, making the tracking of accrued leave time an administrative burden for employers and payroll companies engaged to provide payroll services,” she wrote.
Patack added that film industry workers and their employers already engage in a “robust, mature collective bargaining process that has spanned more than half a century.”
“Most of these collective bargaining agreements already provide paid time off — for sick leave and vacation,” she wrote. “The city’s effort to regulate working conditions, however, applies to all employers and employees” without regard to the wages, terms and conditions that exist in any particular sector or at any one company, or how these wages, terms and conditions are established.”
She said the proposed sick leave provision would “disadvantage those studios and soundstages located within the city’s limits,” making “stage space in neighboring jurisdictions more attractive.”
Film industry issues have been a priority for Garcetti and other city officials, who recently lobbied in support of expanding the state’s film incentives program so that it offers more money and applies to more types of projects.
—Staff and wire reports