City Council Amends Ordinance to Phase In Paid Sick Leave Requirements
As we reported in early April (here), Santa Monica's City Council voted to increase the minimum wage for city employees to $10.50 per hour effective July 1, 2016. As part of the minimum wage ordinance, a paid sick leave provision required individuals who work for employers with 26 or more employees to receive nine paid sick days, and those who work for employers with less than 26 employees to receive five paid sick days.
Implementation in Phases
However, the paid sick leave portion of Santa Monica's Minimum Wage Ordinance has been amended, and on April 26th, the City Council accepted a package of proposals to delay implementation. The amended ordinance will allow a two-phase implementation process, with the first phase of changes delayed to January 1, 2017, and a second phase effective on January 1, 2018.
Under the first phase, small businesses (employers with 25 or fewer employees) must allow a rolling cap of 32 hours of paid sick time for employees, with larger businesses capped at 40 hours. The second phase will increase these caps to 40 hours for small businesses and 72 hours for larger businesses.
The accrual rate for paid sick leave remains the same as required under California law, which is one hour for every 30 hours worked. Similar to the San Francisco ordinance, these accrual caps act as “point in time” caps, meaning Santa Monica employers would no longer be able to limit employee annual use to 24 hours after Jan 1, 2017. Employees will be allowed to use whatever they have saved at any given time.
The Santa Monica Ordinance also does not eliminate an employer's obligations to follow California Law. So, at least until January 1, 2018 (when the accrual cap will increase to 72 hours for large employers), Santa Monica employers who provide sick time by the accrual method should still follow the 48-hour minimum accrual caps under state law.
The Council has also reduced the period of time in which retaliation against an employee for exercising rights under the Ordinance will be presumed. The time period has been reduced from 180 days to 90 days, which is still longer than the state period of 30 days.
The amended Santa Monica Ordinance should be published in the near future. Until then, Santa Monica employers should continue to follow California law until January 1, 2017, to include the recently enacted California Paid Sick Leave Law, which provides employees with three paid sick days.
In the meantime, don't hesitate to contact leading employment lawyers at Kingsley & Kingsley with any questions related to California's employment laws. Call and speak to an experienced California lawyer toll-free at (888) 500-8469 or click here to contact us via email.