Several new las take effect on January 1 in Santa Monica including maximizing the minimum wage, limiting work hours for some hotel employees and universal application of rules banning plastic food containers.

Marine degradable cups and lids for single-use plastic ordinance

Santa Monica passed rules requiring the use of biodegradable take-out containers in 2018. The law took effect on Jan. 1 of 2019 but included a one year exemption for businesses who were unable to find appropriate products due to a lack of support by their suppliers. However, that exemption expires on Jan. 1 of 2020. Under the now universal rule, permitted materials include paper, fiber, wood, wheat straw/straw, bagasse, or edible material. Items included in the rules are straws, utensils, stirrers, lid plugs, plates, trays, bowls, containers, cups and cup lids. Additionally, marine degradable straws and utensils may only be provided upon request.

Workload provisions of Hotel Worker Protection Ordinance

Santa Monica’s new Hotel Worker Protection Ordinance will be in place as of Jan. 1 providing hotel housekeepers with safety protections to prevent violence and limiting work hours for non-union employees.

The law establishes a daily workload maximum of 4,000 square feet for hotels with less than 40 guest rooms and 3,500 square feet for hotels with greater than 40 guest rooms. It requires a double-overtime compensation rate for all hours worked in a workday when a housekeeper’s workload exceeds these maximums.

The safety provision requires on personal rights and safety, and education to protect public health and prevent instances of human trafficking, domestic violence, and sexual violence.

R1 standards

New standards will be in place for neighborhoods comprised of single family homes including more than 6,000 parcels in four areas of town (North of Montana, North of Wilshire, Sunset Park, and Expo/Pico).

Height: Maximum building height is 28 feet, the same as the IZO. Flexibility is provided for flat-roofed structures allowing a vertical wall height limitation of 23 feet.

Maximum Parcel Coverage: Maximum parcel coverage controls the size a home can be on a parcel. The maximum parcel coverage is 45% for new construction and 55% for one and two-story additions to existing homes.

Upper-Story Stepbacks: This controls the mass of the second story and determines how far back the second story needs to be additionally set back. The size of the second story will now be determined based on total parcel coverage and not the maximum buildable elevation. Each stepback areas shall be at least 1% of total parcel area.

Upper-Story Outdoor Space: Individual balconies, decks, terraces, first-story roof decks, and similar outdoor spaces may not exceed 3% of parcel area or 300 square feet, whichever is less. Rear facing balconies, decks, terraces, first-story roof decks, and similar outdoor spaces larger than 100 square feet in the rear half of the parcel shall be set back a minimum distance of 20% of the parcel width from the side parcel lines to preserve neighbor privacy. Accessory Dwelling Units: ADUs are exempt from parcel coverage.

$15 minimum wage for businesses with 25+ employees

Large, non-union, employers are now required to pay employees a minimum wage of $15. City Hall passed a minimum wage ordinance in 2016 that stepped up the minimum wage over several years. As of July 1, 2020, businesses with 26 or more employees will be required to pay $15 per hour. Small businesses will pay a minimum wage of $14.25 this year and will hit $15 in 2021. Hotels were already required to pay a minimum wage of $15.66. Santa Monica has allowed unions to negotiate for other benefits in lieu of the minimum wage. Known as supersession, the rule allows unions to secure other benefits, such as additional time off, under a collective bargaining agreement. Local rules also include sick leave provisions that were in place as of 2018.

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