APRIL 4, 2020
ADVOCACY IN ACTION
BUSINESS COMMUNITY RALLIES AROUND HARMFUL COVID-19 MOTIONS
We reported last week that the City of LA was considering overreaching Paid Sick Leave Right of Recall , and  Worker Retention  policies that would have asked the business community to foot the bill for COVID-19. Collectively, the motions eliminate a business’ hire and lay-off rights, establish a mandatory recall of formerly laid-off employees when rehiring, and dictate to businesses who can and cannot keep their jobs based on seniority. These ordinances were part of an Emergency COVID-19 package that the Council first voted on March 17 th , and were heard in a Special Council meeting on Friday 3/27 that lasted over 11 hours.

Thankfully, the business community rallied around these motions to write letters, make phone calls, and testify at the virtual hearing. Here’s a recap:

These motions have been tabled until further notice. Council continued the matter and requested the Chief Legislative Analyst, City Attorney, City Administrative Officer, and Economic Workforce Development Department to report on the amending motions at a future meeting. Those motions are:
  • Bonin (2nd: Ryu) the two Ordinances would apply only to businesses with more than 50 employees.
  • Buscaino (2nd: Rodriguez) to exclude restaurants.
  • Martinez (2nd: Krekorian) to instruct the Chief Legislative Analyst (CLA) and City Attorney to develop a Permanent Retention Ordinance for hospitality, tourism, and janitorial workers. The CLA would retain the assistance of a consultant, and report back in 30 days with a status report on the process and time frame to be brought back to Council.
  • Cedillo (2nd: Rodriguez): the two ordinances apply to hospitality workers only.
  • Price (2nd: Wesson) applicability of “Employer” to exclude non-profit institutions of higher learning that operate medical centers.
Therefore, at this time, we believe this ordinance will not apply to our industry. However, we keep a watchful eye to ensure that this remains so.

An amended motion was passed by the Council. The Mayor has until April 7 to sign it. The motion’s aim is to include any employers within the City that are not already doing so to provide all employees with paid sick leave in order to achieve two weeks (10 days) of COVID-19-related paid leave. However, our main concern at this time is that our industry—chiefly, builders and general contractors—would, according to the ordinance as written, be required to pay two weeks’ sick leave to day laborers and other part-time employees. That is because the ordinance defines that part-time employees are also entitled to the same benefits as full-time employees. The ordinance reads:

“An Employee who works less than 40 hours per week and is not classified as a full-time Employee by the Employer shall receive Supplemental Paid Sick Leave in an amount no greater than the Employee’s average two week pay over the period of February 3, 2020 through March 4, 2020.”

During the meeting, the following amendments were made to the motion:
  • Blumenfield (2nd: Bonin) to direct City departments to report on whether or not or how the City can facilitate an exchange of tax credits so that companies in need of cash immediately can sell their tax credits on the market at a fair rate.
  • Krekorian (2nd: O’Farrell, Cedillo) would apply only to employers with 500 or more employees nationally.
  • Buscaino (2nd: Blumenfield) to delete paragraph A3 under Section 200.54 entitled Employee Request for Supplemental Paid Sick Leave. (We are not certain of the legal implications of this as of yet, but it may mean that no oral or written request would be required, and it would be automatic, and additionally, that there would be no definition of how the employee would qualify).
  • Martinez (2nd: Krekorian) 1) to exempt collective bargaining agreements, and 2) to instruct the Chief Legislative Analyst, City Administrative Officer, and Economic Workforce Development Department to report back on all adopted Federal Bailout / Stimulus packages, and how they will address the financial needs of small businesses, and how those resources will be available to small businesses complying with COVID related requirements.
  • Rodriguez (2nd: O’Farrell) to direct the Chief Legislative Analyst, with the assistance of the City Administrative Officer, the Office of Finance, the Los Angeles Housing and Community Investment Department, the City Attorney, and any other relevant departments to review the $2 trillion Federal stimulus package approved by the House on March 27, 2020 and the various State programs implemented in response to the COVID-19 crisis, and provide an analysis, by industry, of the relief programs available, any gaps in resources identified, and opportunities where the City might help triage unmet needs.
  • Rodriguez (2nd: Huizar) to include a definition of small business as adopted by and utilized by the Bureau of Contract Administration (this motion failed).
A fully revised ordinance with these motions can be found here
 
If you have any questions related to the City of LA, please contact BIA-LAV Senior Director of Government Affairs, Christine Rangel .