Like its neighbor City of Los Angeles, Santa Monica has local employment ordinances. However, as a popular tourist destination, Santa Monica has several ordinances pertaining to the hospitality industry that employers should take note of.  

Minimum Wage and Hotel Worker Living Wage

On July 1, 2022, Santa Monica raised the minimum wage for most businesses to $15.96.

The city has a separate ordinance, the Hotel Worker Living Wage, which applies to hotel workers. Under this ordinance, hotel workers are defined as individuals whose primary place of employment is at one or more hotels and is employed directly by the hotel employer, or by a person who has contracted with the hotel employer to provide services at the hotel. The ordinance does not apply to employees in managerial and supervisory roles. Effective July 1, 2022, the hotel worker minimum wage is $18.17.

The Hotel Worker Living Wage applies to all hotels, not including Santa Monica’s youth hostels.

Paid Sick Leave

Santa Monica also has its own paid sick leave ordinance. Under the ordinance, small businesses (employ 25 or fewer employees in Santa Monica) must provide 40 hours of paid sick leave, and large businesses (employ 26 or more employees in Santa Monica) must provide 72 hours of paid sick leave.

Under the city’s ordinance, an employer may provide sick leave using an accrual method or front loading. If an employer uses the accrual method, the employer must allow accrued, unused sick leave to carry over annually up to the accrual cap. However, if the employer uses a frontloading method, no carryover is required.

Right of Recall

In the wake of COVID-19, several cities and the state passed right-of-recall statutes requiring covered employers to offer qualified employees, who were laid off due to the pandemic, available positions based on seniority and related factors.

Santa Monica has had such an ordinance in place since 2001. Under the city’s ordinance, employees who were laid off and are qualified must be offered open positions as they become available. This ordinance does not apply to employees in managerial and supervisory roles. An employee is deemed qualified if: (1) the employee held the “same or similar position” at the same site of employment at the time of the employee’s most recent separation; or (2) is or can be qualified for the position with the same training that would be provided to a new employee hired into that position.  

Hotel Worker Protection

Similar to an ordinance recently passed by the City of Los Angeles, Santa Monica passed a Hotel Worker Protection ordinance on January 1, 2020.

Under Santa Monica’s ordinance:

  • Hotel employers must provide personal security devices to hotel workers assigned to work in a guest room or restroom facility;
  • Hotel workers must be provided training on using personal security devices, how to respond to activation, and hotel workers’ rights;
  • Certain protections must be afforded to hotel workers who report violent or threatening conduct by hotel guests, including providing sufficient paid time to report violent conduct to law enforcement and to consult with a counselor or advisor.

Like the Los Angeles ordinance, Santa Monica’s ordinance puts certain requirements in place regarding hotel workers’ workload, including prohibiting hotel workers to work more than 10 hours in a workday without the worker’s written consent.

There are also certain Public Housekeeper Training Organization requirements under the ordinance.

If you need assistance with compliance with Santa Monica’s local ordinances or related issues, contact a Jackson Lewis attorney to discuss.