The Los Angeles City Council Tuesday tentatively approved a proposal to require employers in Los Angeles to offer at least six days of paid sick leave to workers — twice the amount mandated by the state.
The council voted 13-1 in favor of raising the mandated paid sick leave time from 24 hours to 48 hours per calendar year starting July 1. Under amendments also tentatively approved Tuesday, small businesses would get an extra year to comply with the mandate.
The city attorney still needs to craft the wording of the ordinance and bring the draft back for another round of discussion and votes.
“This is not only the right thing to do, it’s the smart thing to do,” said Councilman Curren Price, who chairs the Economic Development Committee that advanced the plan. “Employees who come to work sick are unproductive and risk spreading (illness) to not only co-workers but to customers.”
Councilman Paul Koretz said the policy would lead to a “a healthier workforce.”
“I think this makes tremendous sense,” he said.
Supporters of the expanded paid sick leave policy say it would especially benefit low-income workers who often are forced to go to work when sick in order to keep food on the table.
Councilman Mitch Englander cast the dissenting vote on the policy.
A proposal by Councilman David Ryu to exempt small businesses from the expanded paid sick leave mandate was rejected 8-6 by the council. The six days would be offered to employees who have worked at least 30 days within a year, with employers required to provide the leave upfront or through an accrual process of one hour for every 30 hours worked.
Under the plan, the accrued paid sick leave could be carried over to the next year. Employers would be able to cap the accrued hours at 72, but they could also have a higher cap or set no cap at all.
Under the proposal, employers who already offer 48 hours of paid time off — which are hours that can be used for sickness, personal time off or vacation — would not need to increase the amount of time off they make available.
Council aides said the ordinance language would need to be approved by May in order for the proposal to go into effect by the intended deadline of July 1. That is also the day the first phase of the gradual minimum wage hike to $15 per hour is set to go into effect, with large businesses scheduled to begin paying employees at least $10.50 an hour.
Backers of the minimum wage had pushed for the increased paid sick leave to be included in that law, but some members of the business community raised concerns, saying the issue needed more study.
—Staff and wire reports
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