Recently the federal, state, and L.A. governments all passed laws providing paid sick leave during COVID-19. We know it’s getting complicated, so here are a few FAQs on your right to paid sick leave if you work in the City of Los Angeles.
How much paid sick leave must an employer provide in LA?
There are three different types of paid sick leave in LA you should know about: LA permanent paid sick leave, LA COVID-19 supplemental paid sick leave, and federal COVID-19 paid sick leave. Your employer must provide you with 48 hours (6 days) of permanent paid sick leave every year. In addition to these 48 hours, your employers may be required to provide an additional 80 hours (10 days) of sick leave to address COVID-19 sickness, either under local law or federal law.
Do all workers in LA have paid sick leave?
For permanent paid sick leave (48 hours), you are eligible if:
- You work in the City of Los Angeles
- You’ve worked with your employer for 90 days
For COVID-19 supplemental paid sick leave (80 hours), you are eligible if:
Los Angeles Supplemental COVID-19 paid sick leave
- You work in the City of Los Angeles
- You’ve worked with your employer from February 3 – March 4, 2020
- Your employer has more than 500 employees in Los Angeles or more than 2,000 employees nationally
Federal Supplemental COVID-19 paid sick leave (Families First Coronavirus Response Act)
- Your employer has fewer than 500 employees nationally
Are there any businesses that don’t have to provide their workers with paid sick leave?
For permanent paid sick leave (48 hours), no.
For Los Angeles COVID-19 supplemental paid sick leave (80 hours), there are a few industries that don’t have to provide paid sick leave:
- Healthcare workers
- Emergency personnel (first responders, gang and crisis intervention workers, emergency dispatchers, law enforcement personnel)
- Parcel carriers
- Government workers
- New businesses that started between September 2019 – March 2020
For Federal COVID-19 supplement paid sick leave (80 hours), the industries that don’t have to provide paid sick leave are:
- Healthcare workers
- Emergency responders
Summary: For most workers in Los Angeles, you will get 6 days (permanent) + 10 days (COVID-19 supplemental) for a total of 16 days (128 hours) of paid sick leave. If you work in health care, as an emergency responder, or for an employer with 500-2,000 employees total but fewer than 500 in Los Angeles, you may only get 6 days (48 hours) of paid sick leave.
For what purpose can I take paid sick leave?
You can use your permanent paid sick leave (48 hours) if:
- You’re sick
- You need to care for a sick family member
- You have a doctor’s appointment
- A family member has a doctor’s appointment
- You need to take preventative care
- You’re caring for a family member who needs to take preventative care
You can use your COVID-19 supplemental sick leave (80 hours) if:
- You’re sick with COVID-19
- You are 65+ years old
- You have a health condition that makes you more vulnerable to COVID-19, such as heart disease, asthma, lung disease, diabetes, kidney disease, or a compromised immune system
- Your healthcare provider tells you to stay home to stop the spread of COVID-19
- You need to care for a family member who has to stay home
- You need to care for a child whose school has closed or normal care is unavailable
Who counts as “family member”?
A family member is any individual related by blood or affinity whose close association with you is the equivalent of a family relationship. This means that if YOU relate to them like family, then they’re family, and you can take paid sick leave to care for them.
Do undocumented workers receive paid sick leave?
Yes. Immigration status is not a barrier to receiving paid sick leave.
Will I still get paid when I take a paid sick day?
Yes. The amount depends on the purpose of your leave. Generally, you will receive 100% of your salary, with a maximum of $511/day. Your employer will pay you directly. You do not need to apply for payment with a government agency. However, if you are receiving paid sick days under the federal COVID-19 Paid Sick Days law and are taking leave to care for a child or a sick family member, you will only receive 2/3 your normal pay up to $200/day.
Can I use a sick day if I’ve been laid off?
No. You can only use paid sick days to get pay during days that you would otherwise be working.
Can my employer require a doctor’s note?
For permanent paid sick leave (48 hours), your employer can require a doctor’s note if you take 3 sick days in a row.
For COVID-19 supplemental paid sick leave (80 hours), your employer cannot require a doctor’s note.
Can my employer give me fewer hours, reduce my pay, or otherwise retaliate against me for taking paid sick leave?
NO. It is illegal for your employer to retaliate against you for taking paid sick leave.
How can I request a sick day?
You can request a paid sick day orally or in writing. Here's a sample letter you can provide to your employer. If you request a paid sick day orally, it can be helpful to send your employer a text, email, or note confirming your request.
Who can I contact if my employer refuses to provide me with paid sick leave or has retaliated against me for taking paid sick leave?
If you are being denied paid sick days, you can file a complaint with a government agency.
- For federal COVID-19 supplemental sick leave, you can file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Labor: https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/contact/complaints.
- For state permanent paid sick leave, you can file a complaint with the California Department of Labor: https://www.dir.ca.gov/dlse/HowToReportViolationtoBOFE.htm.
- For LA COVID-19 supplemental sick leave, you can file a complaint with the City of Los Angeles: https://wagesla.lacity.org/submit-complaint.
- If you would like legal assistance regarding your employment rights and options, you can contact Legal Aid at Work at 800-880-8047 or ACLU SoCal.
Created by ACLU SoCal and Legal Aid at Work