• 2021 Mid-Year Employment Law Update

    2021 Mid-Year Employment Law Update

    • City of Los Angeles Vaccine Leave: Under the order, employees working within the City of Los Angeles and that have been employed for 60 days are entitled to paid time off to get a COVID-19 vaccination, including recovering from the side effects of the vaccination if it prevents the employee from working.  The order went into effect on June 24, 2021 and expires on September 30, 2021. The amount of leave permitted depends on the size of the employer and whether the employee is full-time or part-time.  Employers that operate in other cities / counties should check if similar laws have been enacted.
    • State COVID-19 Supplemental Sick Leave: The State of California’s COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave (“SPSL”) remains in effect until September 30, 2021, for employers with more than 25 employees.  Under the SPSL, employees may take leave if: (1) The employee is subject to a quarantine or isolation period related to COVID-19; (2) The employee has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID-19; (3) The employee is attending an appointment to receive a vaccine for protection against COVID-19; (4) The employee is experiencing symptoms related to a COVID-19 vaccine that prevents the employee from being able to work or telework; (5) The employee is experiencing symptoms related to COVID-19 and seeking medical diagnosis; (6) The employee is caring for a family member who is subject to a quarantine or isolation order or has been advised to self-quarantine; (7) The employee is caring for a child whose school or place of care is closed or otherwise unavailable for reasons related to COVID-19 on the premises.  The California Labor Commissioner has published answers to frequently asked questions at: https://www.dir.ca.gov/dlse/COVID19Resources/FAQ-for-SPSL-2021.html
    • Covid 19 Prevention Program: Under Cal/OSHA’s COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standards (ETS), employers are required to have a written COVID-19 Prevention Program. Cal/OSHA has revised the ETS and released an updated model prevention program. The updated program includes directives for vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals such as face-covering requirements.
    • Minimum Wage Increases: On July 1, 2021, the minimum wage in several cities / counties increased.  In the city and county of Los Angeles the minimum wage increased to $15.00 / hour.  Beginning on July 1, 2021, the City of Los Angeles increased the minimum wage rate for hotel workers to $17.64 for hotels with 150 or more rooms.  Employers that operate in other cities / counties should check for local minimum wage requirements.
    • State Right of Recall Ordinance: On April 16, 2021, the Governor signed Senate Bill 93, which requires covered employers to offer employees laid off due to COVID-19 available positions based on a preference system. The statute is effective immediately and applies to Hotels, Private clubs, Event Centers, Airport Hospitality Operations, Airport Service Providers, Building Services to office, retail, or other commercial buildings.  Under the statute, employees who were employed for 6 months or more in the 12 months preceding January 1, 2020, and whose most recent separation from active service was due to a reason related to COVID-19, must be offered positions they are qualified for before hiring new employees. Additional notice and record keeping requirements apply.
    • Updated DFEH COVID-19 Guidance: On March 4, 2021, The California DFEH, updated its COVID-19 guidance for employers. The updates can be found at: https://www.dfeh.ca.gov/wp-content/uploads/sites/32/2020/03/DFEH-Employment-Information-on-COVID-19-FAQ_ENG.pdf
    • Labor Commissioner COVID-19 testing and vaccine FAC: The California Labor Commissioner’s guidance regarding COVID-19 testing and vaccinations can be found at: https://www.dir.ca.gov/dlse/COVID19resources/FAQs-Testing-Vaccine.html
    • Notable Cases:
    Contreras v. Superior Court (2021) 61 Cal.App.5th 461: Employee cannot be required to arbitrate the issue of whether he/she is an “aggrieved employee” under California’s Private Attorney General Statute (“PAGA”) and thus whether PAGA claim is subject to arbitration.
    Alvarez v. Altamed Health Services Corp. (2021) 60 Cal.App.5th 572: Arbitration agreement held valid even when it is not signed by the employer.
    David Binder and Zena Kalioundji are the principals of the Law Firm Binder & Kalioundji, LLP and represent and provide guidance to employers throughout the state of California.  If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to us at (818) 479-7679.  This foregoing has been provided as an information tool and is made with the understanding that it does not establish an attorney client relationship and does not constitute the furnishing of legal advice or legal opinions.