Santa Monica Delays Implementation of Paid Sick Leave to 2017

On April 26, 2016, the Santa Monica City Council approved amendments to its Sick Leave Ordinance (“Ordinance”) delaying its implementation until January 1, 2017.  This change will give employers extra time to comply with the Ordinance.  However, the Santa Monica minimum wage remains effective July 1, 2016, to increase to $10.50.

Rather than rushing to implement the new law this summer, the amended Ordinance will phase in the new requirements over the next two years.  Specifically, Small Businesses (employers with 25 or fewer employees) will be required to provide 32 hours of paid sick time to their employees as of January 1, 2017, and 40 hours effective January 1, 2018.  Similarly, Large Businesses (employers with 26 or more employees) will be required to provide 40 hours of paid sick leave starting January 1, 2017, and 72 hours beginning January 1, 2018.

The accrual rate (one hour for every 30 hours worked) will remain the same, and consistent with the State requirements.  The amended Ordinance now requires that employees begin accruing sick leave at the commencement of employment, as opposed to 90 days after beginning employment as the previous version of the Ordinance required.  Similar to State law, employers may impose a 90-day waiting period before employees may use sick leave.

The amended Ordinance also allows employers to front load sick leave, providing all of the sick leave to its employees at the beginning of the calendar year, fiscal year, or year of employment.  Should employers choose this method, they will be exempt from the accrual and carry over requirements of the Ordinance.

Employers will now have a few extra months to prepare for compliance with Santa Monica’s sick leave law.  Employers should review their current sick leave policies and ensure they are in compliance with the State’s paid sick leave laws and all local entities in which they operate.

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