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New Law Requires Paid Sick Time in California

(posted: September 29th, 2014)

New Law Requires Paid Sick Time in California

Starting in 2015, California employers will be required to provide paid sick leave benefits to their employees.

The Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act of 2014, which will go into effect on July 1, 2015, mandates that employers in California provide paid sick time to their employees working 30 hours per week or more.

Review Your Sick Pay Policies Sooner Than Later

Although there is nearly a year before the law takes effect, we are recommending that those of you who have employees in California start reviewing your current sick leave and/or paid time off policies now, as well as how you notify employees about accrued or used time off.

Because the new law also requires changes to your new-hire notices, your workplace posting requirements, and your record-keeping, it is a good idea to start working on the changes to your policies and processes now.

If your current paid sick time policy already meets the requirements in the Act, you will not be required to provide any additional time, but you will need to meet the law's other provisions.

What's In the New Law?

Some key points from the bill include:

  • A minimum of one hour paid sick time for each 30 hours worked for any employee working 30 or more days within the first year of their employment.
  • The rate of pay for paid sick leave is the employee's regular hourly wage (which includes commission or piece rate pay), and employers must pay out sick leave benefit payments to employees no later than the payday for the next payroll period after the sick leave was taken.
  • Employers are required to provide written notice on the designated pay dates that sets forth the amount of paid sick leave benefits available to the employee. This notice may be given to the employee on either the itemized wage statement or a separate written document.
  • Access to accrued sick time after 90 days of employment and annual carryover of accrued time (unless the time is allotted in full at the beginning of each year), although employers may limit usage to 3 days or 24 hours each year and total accrual may be limited to 48 hours
  • Reinstatement of unused, accrued sick time upon rehire within one year.
  • Explicit inclusion of domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking as reasons that would allow an employee to use their accrued sick time.

Note that San Francisco employers (and San Diego employers beginning on January 1) will need to comply with whichever provisions are the more advantageous to employees.

Many employers already have a more generous paid sick leave policy than the new law requires, however, estimates put the number of employees in the state without access to paid sick leave at around 6.5 million. Employers who have existing sick leave policies will want to review them carefully to ensure they are meeting all the requirements of the new law.

We are here to help! Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about how this new law will affect you, or if you need some support as you revise your policies, processes and handbook.

The Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act can be found here.

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