Los Angeles Sick Leave Law Affects Household Employers

Jul 12, 2016 | Domestic Workers' Rights, Tax & Wage Laws

los-angeles-sick-leave-lawMore and more states and cities are enacting sick leave laws for the employees that work within those areas. Beginning in July of 2017, household employers in Los Angeles will need to comply with a new ordinance that provides paid sick leave to their employees.

This Los Angeles sick leave law went into effect for employers with 26 or more employees working in that city on July 1, 2016. For smaller employers, including household employers, the effective date is delayed until July 1, 2017.

Employees in Los Angeles who work 30 or more days within a year of beginning employment, whether full-time, part-time, or temporary, will earn paid sick leave based upon the number of hours worked.


Employees will accrue one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked. Exempt employees will be presumed to work 40 hours per week unless they are regularly scheduled to work fewer hours, in which case accrual will be based on their usual schedule. Accrual will begin immediately upon employment. Employers may cap accrual at 72 hours. Unused time will carry over into a new year up to the accrual cap.

Use of Leave

Employers may cap the use of leave at 48 hours per year. Employers may prevent employees from using any time accrued until their 90th day of employment. Employers must allow employees to use sick leave in the smallest increment the Company uses for timekeeping.

Employers cannot require employees to find their own replacement worker as a condition of taking sick time.

Employees may use sick leave for themselves or a family member for the diagnosis, care or treatment of an existing health condition or preventive care or for specified purposes for an employee who is a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking.

Family members include:

  • Children, whether biological, adopted, step, foster, the child of a domestic partner or a child for whom the employee stands in loco parentis;
  • Parents, whether biological, adopted, step, foster, in-law; a legal guardian; or someone stood in loco parentis when the employee was a minor;
  • Grandparents;
  • Grandchildren;
  • Siblings, whether biological, adopted, step, or foster;
  • Legal guardians and wards;
  • Spouses;
  • Those with whom the employee is related by blood or affinity whose close association with the employee is the equivalent of a family relationship. (This is the language from the ordinance and it does not come with any further guidance at this time; we recommend the broad application of the term, e.g., boyfriend, girlfriend, aunt, best friend, third cousin).


When sick leave is used, it must be paid at the employee’s regular rate of pay. Employees need not be compensated for unused sick leave at the end of employment. However, employees rehired within one year of termination will have any previously accrued but unused sick leave reinstated unless it was paid out upon termination.


Employers may request reasonable advance notice if the need for leave is foreseeable, and may request notice as soon as practicable if the need for leave is not foreseeable.


An employer may require reasonable documentation indicating that the leave was taken for a permissible purpose. The employer may not require that the documentation specify the nature of the employee’s or the employee’s family member’s medical condition.

The ordinance only indicates that “reasonable documentation” may be requested; we strongly suggest not requiring a doctor’s note until the employee has exhausted all of their protected leave for the year, as this could be seen as retaliatory. A note from the employee, which includes their signature, indicating that they took the leave for a permissible purpose is very likely acceptable. If employers decide to request such documentation, they should be sure to do so consistently with all employees, regardless of circumstances or the trustworthiness of the employee.

Infringement and Retaliation

It is unlawful for an employer or any other person to deny, interfere with, or fail to pay for the sick time an employee has the legal right to use. Employers also must not implement or enforce an absence control policy that has the intent or effect of making the use of sick time afforded by this ordinance a cause for discipline. Retaliation or discrimination with respect to terms and conditions of employment because an employee inquires about, requests, or uses sick time, or initiates or participates in any investigation related to this statute is prohibited.

GTM will continue to provide information and resources to keep families compliant with labor laws. Contact us at (800) 929-9213 to learn more.

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