On July 13, Governor Brown signed AB 304, a bill that clarifies some issues in the new paid sick leave law, the Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act of 2014 (AB 1522). The law, as amended, provides the following:
Who is eligible for sick leave?
All employees who, on or after July 1, 2015, work in California for the same employer at least 30 days in a year.
How much sick leave must be provided?
At least 24 hours (3 days) in a 12-month period.
How does sick leave accrue?
Sick leave accrues at the rate of 1 hour for every 30 hours worked, or by any other method that provides 24 hours of sick leave by the 120th day of employment. Exempt employees are presumed to work 40 hours a week.
As an alternative to accrual, employers can provide at least 3 days of sick leave to employees upon hire.
An employer may “lend” sick leave to employees who have not yet accrued enough time for leave.
If employment is terminated, and the employee is re-hired within 12 months, the employee’s unused sick leave must be reinstated, unless it has been paid out.
When can employees use leave?
If an employer uses the accrual method, an employee must be able to use sick leave after 90 days.
If an employer gives 3 days of sick leave without accrual, an employee must be able to use it after 120 days.
What happens to unused sick leave?
If an employer uses the accrual method, employees must be able to carry over sick leave. However, an employer can cap it at 6 days, and an employer can cap sick leave at 3 days a year.
If an employer simply provides (at least) 3 days of sick leave a year there is no carry over requirement.
Employers are not required to pay employees for unused sick leave.
Are there minimum increments for use of sick leave?
Employers may set time increments for use of sick leave, but the increments cannot exceed 2 hours.
For full details on the new bill and additional questions, please contact Navé & Cortell, LLP at 805-953-2330.