LOS ANGELES – The Board of Supervisors today approved a motion authored by Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Chair Hilda L. Solis, Supervisor to the First District, and co-authored by Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, considering an urgency ordinance that would provide employee paid leave for workers seeking to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.
“In workplaces across the County, many employees lack the financial means to take the necessary time off from work to access vaccination sites,” shared Chair Solis. “This is especially true for low wage and essential workers, many of whom are from our Black and Latinx communities, who have borne the brunt of the health and financial impacts of this pandemic. We should not be asking our workers, many of whom are essential to decide between a vaccine that will save their lives or forgoing a paycheck that they need to put food on the table and keep a roof over their heads. This measure will bolster our vaccination efforts, speed up our economic recovery, and help us put this pandemic behind us in a meaningful and equitable way for all.”
California Senate Bill (SB) 95, requires all employers with 25 or more employees to provide 80 hours of COVID-19 related sick leave for full-time employees, and for part-time employees, hours to cover the normal schedule that employee would work over two weeks. Though this covers vaccine-related time, many vulnerable residents, especially essential workers, may have already exhausted the existing 80-hour benefit due to either prior infection or exposure to COVID-19, and thus lack the necessary hours to take time off work to get vaccinated.
“The County has done an outstanding job of getting vaccines into people’s arms,” said Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, “but our high need communities still face barriers to vaccine access that must be addressed. Today’s motion ensures that no employee will decline a vaccine simply out of fear of losing pay. The sooner we all get vaccinated, the sooner we can all get back to normal.”
The passage of today’s motion directs Los Angeles County Counsel, in consultation with relevant County Departments, to report back prior to the May 4, 2021 Board of Supervisors meeting with a proposed urgency ordinance to grant all employees in private businesses/entities located in the unincorporated areas of the County, up to an additional four hours of excused paid leave per injection to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. The ordinance must further ensure that the leave of absence is granted at the employee’s regular rate of pay and not charged against any other leave an employee is entitled to, including paid sick leave; provides up to four hours of retroactive pay per injection for employees who received the vaccine during work time since January 1, 2021; and prohibits retaliatory actions against any employee who exercises their rights afforded under this proposed ordinance.
The motion also asks for a memorandum that advises the Board of Supervisors as to whether such an urgency ordinance can apply to all private employees in the unincorporated areas of the County.
To view the motion, click here.