Santa Monica Employers Ring in New Year with Paid Sick Leave

By Hera S. Arsen, J.D., Ph.D. © Ogletree Deakins Jan 11, 2017
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In January 2016, the Santa Monica City Council adopted an ordinance that would both raise the city's minimum wage and impose paid sick leave requirements—in addition to those imposed by the state's paid sick leave statute—on employers.

The ordinance was initially scheduled to take effect on July 1, 2016. However, a subsequent amendment to the ordinance changed the effective date of the paid sick leave provisions to Jan. 1, 2017.

Here's what Santa Monica employers need to know about the new law.

Accrual rate: The paid sick leave accrual rate is the same as the state law's accrual rate—requiring employers to provide employees with 1 hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked.

Accrual limits: In 2017, small business (i.e., those with 25 or fewer employees) will be required to provide employees with at least 32 hours of leave. Large businesses (defined as those with 26 or more employees) will be required to provide at least 40 hours. As of January 1, 2018, those numbers will increase to 40 hours for small business and 72 hours for large businesses.

Carry over: Employees may carry over any sick leave they have accrued up to their accrual limits (i.e., 32, 40, or 72 hours).

Accrual or lump sum: Employers may provide employees with their entire paid sick leave entitlements at the start of the year rather than allowing them to gradually accrue leave throughout the year as long as as long as the employer is in compliance with all of the law's requirements.

Unused leave: Employers are not required to pay employees for any unused hours of paid sick leave at the end of the employment relationship.

The city of Santa Monica has issued a Frequently Asked Questions page and a Fact Sheet on the new paid sick leave and minimum wage laws. The City has also made legal posters on the sick leave and minimum wage laws available for both hotel and non-hotel workers on its website.

Hera S. Arsen, J.D., Ph.D., is the managing editor of publications for Ogletree Deakins in Torrance, Calif. © Ogletree Deakins. All rights reserved. Reposted with permission. 

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