In a marathon 11-hour meeting held via held via Zoom, the Los Angeles City Council voted last week to approve several protective measures for Los Angeles residents and workers during the COVID-19 outbreak.
The City will now require that all businesses with 500 or more employees nationally provide 80 hours of paid sick leave for workers to recover from COVID-19 or to care for ailing family members.
Businesses with 50 employees are less, however, have been exempted from the paid leave requirement after business owners contended that restaurants, bars, and small retail stores would be unable to shoulder the financial burden.
The Council also voted to expand upon a temporary eviction moratorium for tenants who are unable to pay rent due to COVID-19 and the citywide "safer-at-home" order. Amendments from Councilmembers extended the period for repayment of back rent to landlords from six months to 12 months, with approval from the City's Housing and Community Investment Department.
However, a proposal for a broader ban on evictions during the crisis - sponsored by 11th District Councilmember Mike Bonin - fell one vote short of adoption.
A representative of the Los Angeles City Attorney's office contended that Bonin's proposal, if enacted, would have effectively permitted nonpayment of rent during the duration of the 12-month repayment period.
Bonin, in response, argued that the City Attorney's position assumed the worst intentions of renters - an assumption that had not been made of landlords who have similarly claimed an inability to keep up with mortgage payments during the crisis.
One member of the City Council, 3rd District Representative Bob Blumenfield, argued that the current closure of the court system has effectively created a two-month eviction moratorium.
An attempt by 4th District Councilmember David Ryu to pass an emergency citywide rent freeze, also failed to garner sufficient support, but will be eligible for consideration at a subsequent meeting of the Council.
Two other ordinances relating to worker retention and procedures for rehiring of employees following the crisis were tabled for further discussion at a later meeting.