Santa Monica, California Enacts Enhanced Minimum Wage and Paid Sick Leave Law


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Joining sister cities San Francisco, Oakland and Emeryville, Santa Monica has enacted its own minimum wage and sick leave ordinance just a mere two weeks after it was initially proposed.

The minimum wage provisions basically mirror those of Los Angeles, raising the rate to $15.00 by 2020. Santa Monica earned the honor of being the first municipality in Southern California to enact its own sick leave legislation, and for the first to enter the ring is providing employees with a much larger package than we’ve prior reported on in our blog. Santa Monica employees may accrue up to 72 hours of sick leave, with mandatory accrual and carry-over requirements. This is well in excess of state paid sick leave requirements. Both the provisions – minimum wage and paid sick leave – go into effect on July 1, 2016.

The law basically covers any employee who works at least two hours a week in Santa Monica, subject to a few limited exceptions. These exceptions include federal, state, county and city government employees. Also excluded are employees who have waived their rights to paid sick leave in collective bargaining agreements if the waiver is explicitly set forth in the agreement in clear and unambiguous terms. Smaller employers (26 or under employees) are only mandated to allow employees to accrue up to 40 hours of unpaid sick leave. In both cases (over or under 26 employees), the leave is available to employees after the first 90 days of employment.

Employers with employees doing work in Santa Monica should take steps now to ensure full compliance with the new law. Review and revise as necessary all existing paid sick leave policies and procedures, and update all pay systems to allow for accrual depending on the size of the company; review all policies on anti-retaliation, attendance, conduct and discipline to prevent retaliation and interference claims under the law; ensure timekeeping, payroll and benefits systems will be in compliance with the new law; and prepare for the incremental pay increases that will begin on July 1.

Hilary Atkins
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Posted In: Legal

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