Los Angeles Adds Paid Vaccine Leave To COVID-Related Work Rules
On June 24, 2021, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti signed a public order that requires employers to provide paid leave for employees to get the COVID-19 vaccine and recover from the side effects. This public order was added as a response to SB 95 signed in March 2021 by Governor Gavin Newsom which requires employers with 25 or more employees to provide 80 hours of COVID-19 related sick leave. However, Mayor Garcetti recognized that SB 95 did not include employees who work for smaller employers or citizens that have already used their 80 hours of allotted sick leave due to a previous infection with the virus.
In order to boost vaccination rates and increase access to paid sick leave, Los Angeles Mayor Garcetti enacted this public order to fill those gaps. Here are a few important things to know about the new order:
- The order applies retroactively to January 1, 2021.
- The paid leave applies to the time used to travel to and from a vaccine appointment, the time spent at the vaccine appointment, and the time used to recover from vaccine side effects.
- The order applies to employees that work in the geographic limits of the city of Los Angeles who have worked for their employer for at least 60 days.
- Employees shall be paid the highest of their normal rate of pay, the $15/hour minimum wage, or their average hourly pay for the previous 60 days.
- Employers that have 25 or fewer employees must provide full-time employees with 4 hours of paid leave to receive the vaccine and 8 hours of paid leave to recover from the side effects per injection. Part-time employees must receive paid leave prorated according to a formula in the public order based on their hours worked in the previous 60 days.
- Employers with more than 25 employees must first follow the rules in Labor Code 248.2 and then provide the same amount of paid leave as smaller employers if an employee has exhausted all other COVID-related leave that they are entitled to.
- Employers may require written verification of COVID-19 vaccination from an employee.
Employers May Not Retaliate Against Employees Who Request COVID-19 Vaccine Leave
The public order specifically states that employers may not fire, demote, or discriminate against employees who request or use this kind of leave. If an employer does take negative action against an employee because they chose to assert their paid leave rights, the employee can sue their employer for reinstatement, back pay, attorneys’ fees, and more.
If your employer has denied you COVID-19 vaccine paid leave or taken retaliatory action against you because you took this leave, you should speak with a California employment lawyer right away to determine if you have a case. Davtyan Law Firm is a Los Angeles area law firm that focuses on protecting the rights of California workers. Give us a call today to discuss your employment law situation.