Supplemental Paid Sick Leave for COVID-19 Related Reasons
The Los Angeles City Council approved an ordinance providing supplemental paid sick leave for COVID-19 related reasons on March 27, 2020. The ordinance is effective once the Mayor signs which has a deadline of April 7. Below is a summary of the adopted ordinance:
Supplemental Paid Sick Leave (SPSL) is effective immediately upon publication and sunsets on December 31, 2020 unless the City Council takes additional action to extend the ordinance. This ordinance applies to employers with 500 or more employees nationwide and requires provision of two weeks paid leave for COVID-19 related reasons to their employees working in the city of Los Angeles. The federal policy, Emergency Paid Sick Leave (part of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act), applies to employers with 50-499 employees nationwide offering a hardship exemption for businesses with less than 50 employees that "would place the viability of businesses at risk". Based on number of employees employed nationwide, employers are subject to either the City of Los Angeles or Federal leave policies, not both.
Qualifying for SPSL | An employee qualifies for SPSL for any of the following reasons:
- Is in required/recommended isolation or self-quarantine to prevent the spread of COVID-19 as specified by a medical professional.
- Is 65 years of age or older or has a preexisting health condition including heart disease, asthma, lung disease, diabetes, kidney disease or a weakened immune system.
- Is caring for a family member who is not sick but is in required/recommended isolation or self-quarantine as specified by a medical professional.
- Is caring for a family member whose senior care, school or childcare provider is temporarily closed in compliance with public health orders.
Employees can communicate their need for SPSL orally or in writing and are not required to provide a doctor's note or any other documentation. Employees must have been employed consistently between February 3, 2020 and March 4, 2020. First responders and healthcare providers are exempt.
Employer Obligations | Applicable employers are required to meet the following pay thresholds:
- Full-time employees are entitled to receive 80 hours of supplemental paid sick leave. Pay is calculated based on average two week pay earned between February 3 and March 4, 2020.
- Part-time employees receive an amount no greater than their average two week pay earned between February 3 and March 4, 2020.
- SPSL payment may not exceed $511 per day or $5,110 for the entire period for full- and part-time employees.
Employers that are obligated to provide 80 hours of SPSL may subtract any paid leave already granted beginning on or after March 3, 2020 in an amount equal to or greater than the requirements identified in this ordinance and for any of the stated qualifying reasons related to COVID-19.
This ordinance is enforceable by the Superior Court of the State of California and prohibition against retaliatory actions applies. Employees cannot waive their right to SPSL. All parts of this agreement can be expressly waived in a collective bargaining agreement.
Restrictions on Evictions During the COVID-19 Local Emergency
On March 27, the Los Angeles City Council adopted an ordinance temporarily prohibiting evictions of residential and some commercial tenants for failure to pay rent due to COVID-19 during the declared Local Emergency. The ordinance is effective once the Mayor signs which has a deadline of April 7. Commercial tenants that are multi-national companies, publicly traded companies or companies that employ more than 500 employees are excluded from these eviction prohibitions. The ordinance also prohibits no-fault evictions of residential tenants if the tenant or any member of the household is ill, in isolation or under quarantine due to COVID-19. It additionally suspends the withdrawal of occupied residential units from the rental market under the Ellis Act until 60 days after the expiration of the Local Emergency Period.
Tenants are not explicitly required to provide proof of their inability to pay rent, but they may use these protections as an affirmative defense in an unlawful detainer action in which they would need to provide materials relevant to their defense. Residential property owners must give written notice of the protections afforded by the ordinance within 30 days of its effective date. Failure to provide notice may result in penalties. (We are confirming if commercial property owners are also obligated to provide notice to tenants and will update this page with that info).
Circumstances under which a tenant may not be evicted during the Local Emergency:
- Non-payment of rent due to:
- Loss of income due to a COVID-19 related workplace closure.
- Childcare expenditures due to school closures.
- Healthcare expenses related to being ill with COVID-19 or caring for a member of the tenant's household or family who is ill with COVID-19.
- Reasonable expenditures that stem from government-ordered emergency measures.
- A no-fault eviction, meaning any eviction for which the notice to terminate tenancy is not based on an alleged fault of the tenant.
- The presence of unauthorized occupants, pets or nuisance related to COVID19 (ex. a family member with a dog or cat that has moved in with relatives during the Local Emergency).
- Removing an occupied unit from the rental market under the Ellis Act.
Tenants may still be evicted for criminal activity.
Specifications on deferred rent payments:
The ordinance does not eliminate any obligation to pay lawfully charged rent.
Residential tenants are allowed up to 12 months following the end of the declared Local Emergency Period to repay any deferred rent, and applicable commercial tenants are allowed up to three months following the end of the declared Local Emergency Period to repay any deferred rent. However, a residential tenant and property owner may, prior to the expiration of the Local Emergency Period or within 90 days of the first missed rent payment, whichever comes first, mutually agree to a plan for repayment of unpaid rent selected from options specified by the Housing and Community Investment Department. Property owners may not charge interest or late fees on unpaid rent.
California State Restrictions on Evictions During the COVID-19 State of Emergency:
Also on March 27, Governor Newsom issued an Executive Order similarly prohibiting residential evictions throughout California during the declared State of Emergency, effective immediately through May 31, 2020. Under the Executive Order, property owners may not evict a tenant if a tenant notifies their landlord in writing before the rent is due or within seven days afterwards that the tenant needs to delay all or some payment of rent because of an inability to pay the full amount due to reasons related to COVID-19, including but not limited to:
- The tenant was unavailable to work because they were sick with a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19 or were caring for a household or family member who was sick with a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19.
- The tenant experienced a lay-off, loss of hours or other income reduction resulting from COVID-19, the State of Emergency or related government response.
- The tenant needed to miss work to care for a child whose school was closed in response to COVID-19.
Tenants remain obligated to repay full rent in a timely manner and could still face eviction after the eviction moratorium is lifted. Tenants are also required to retain documentation but not required to submit it to the landlord in advance. Verifiable documentation includes termination notices, payroll checks, pay stubs, bank statements, medical bills or signed letters or statements from an employer or supervisor explaining the tenant's changed financial circumstances to support the tenant's assertion of an inability to pay.