New Paid Sick Leave Law to Take Effect July 1, 2015

Scott Nave

written by Navé & Cortell

Beginning July 1, 2015, an employee working in California for 30 or more days within a year from the beginning of employment is entitled to paid sick leave.  This new law is known as the Healthy Workplace, Healthy Family Act of 2014 (AB 1522).  To help you navigate the new requirements, Navé & Cortell has summarized what you need to know:

What is the purpose of the sick paid leave law?

This law requires a minimum number of sick days for employees to attend to his or her own health, or that of a family member.  The stated goal of the new law is to have a positive impact on public health by lessening recovery times and reducing the likelihood of spreading illness.

How will the sick paid leave law affect my business?

Employees – including temporary/seasonal, part-time, and full-time employees – working in California on or after July 1, 2015, for 30 or more days within a year will be entitled to sick pay under the new law.  Consider the following factors when reviewing your sick pay policy:

Accrual

Paid sick leave will accrue at the rate of one hour per every 30 hours and will be paid at the employee’s current rate of pay. Accrued paid sick leave must carry over to the following year, but it may be capped at 48 hours (or 6 days) in a written policy.  Accrued time may be used on the 90th day of employment.

Alternative to Accrual

As an alternative, an employer can provide 24 hours (or 3 days) of paid sick leave at the beginning of each calendar year, anniversary date, or twelve month basis.  Tracking accrual is not required, but an employer must track and display usage on wage statement or on another written document.  Under this method, an employer is not required to provide for carry over of sick leave.

Compliance with State and Local Laws

Employers must comply with both California and local laws.  Where these laws differ, employers will have to provide the more generous provision or benefit to the employee.

Exemptions

The following employees are exempt from the new paid sick leave law:

  • Employees covered by a valid collective bargaining agreement (CBA) which provides for paid sick days
  • In-home support services employees
  • Airline flight deck or cabin crew employees who have equivalent benefits

What should my company do to ensure compliance?

The California Department of Industrial Relations suggests the following six steps for successful compliance with the new law:

  • Step 1:  Display poster on paid sick leave where employees can read it easily.  Document policy and share with staff.
  • Step 2:  Provide written notice of paid sick leave information to individual employee at time of hire.
  • Step 3:  Adopt a policy using either the accrual or 24-hour method for paid sick leave, and provide to employees.
  • Step 4:  Allow eligible employees to use accrued paid sick leave upon request or notification.
  • Step 5:  Show how many hours of sick leave an employee has available.  This must be on a pay stub or a document issued the same day as a paycheck.
  • Step 6:  Keep records showing how many hours have been earned and used for three years.

If you have additional questions, please contact Navé & Cortell, LLP at 805-953-2330.