State and local governments have the right to set their own wage and other labor laws, provided those rules are at least as generous to workers as federal regulations are. Los Angeles is a prime example of a municipality that has taken the lead in enacting such laws, and this can especially be seen in the city’s minimum wage and sick time benefits. If you work in Los Angeles, it’s important for you to know your rights as an employee.
Understanding Minimum Wage in Los Angeles
The city’s Minimum Wage Ordinance (MWO) applies to any employee who works at least two hours a week within Los Angeles, including full-time, part-time, temporary, and undocumented workers. An individual does not have to live in Los Angeles to be protected by the MWO, just work there. The MWO, therefore, covers most employees, except (for instance) certain white-collar workers who are exempt from the state’s minimum wage rules.
Those employees who are not exempt, and who are therefore covered by the MWO, must be paid according to the Los Angeles Minimum Wage Rate Schedule. As of July 1, 2022, the minimum wage is $16.04/hour. On July 1, 2023, the minimum wage will rise to $16.78/hour and will increase each subsequent year according to a Consumer Price Index set for the city. Gratuities, tips, and medical benefits cannot be counted toward the minimum wage.
Understanding Paid Sick Leave in Los Angeles
The MWO also includes paid sick leave benefits which apply to anyone who works 30 or more days for the same employer within one year of beginning employment. This applies even to an employee who works sporadically, provided he or she works at least 30 days for the same employer within that one-year period.
Employers have two options for how they provide paid sick leave to their employees, the front-loading method and the accrual method:
- Front-loading: By providing the entire 48 hours to an employee at the beginning of each year of employment, calendar year, or 12-month period
- Accrual: By providing the employee one hour of sick leave for every 30 hours worked
The employer may apply different methods to different types of employees (for example, applying the front-loading method to full-time employees and the accrual method to part-time employees). However, the employer can only alternate between the two methods on an annual basis. Unused paid sick leave carries over to the following year and can be capped at a minimum of 72 hours.
How does an employee use paid sick leave?
An employee wishing to use paid sick leave can provide an oral or written request to the employer. Leave can be taken either for the employee or for a family member (which includes a child, spouse, parent, and certain other relatives). It may be used for the purposes of obtaining preventive care or diagnosis, care, or treatment of an existing health condition, or for specified purposes of a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking.
If the sick leave is planned, for instance, to attend a scheduled doctor appointment, the employee must provide advance notice to the employer. For an unforeseeable need such as a medical emergency, the employee only has to provide notice to the employer as soon as practical.
We Help Workers Understand and Enforce Their Rights
The above information is only an overview of the minimum wage and paid sick leave benefits of Los Angeles workers. If you have additional questions, or you suspect your employer is violating your rights under the MWO, it’s time to reach out to The Lore Law Firm. Complete our online client intake form for a free and confidential review of your situation.