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Mandatory Paid Sick Leave: 7 Steps to Compliance + Bonus Checklist

(posted: May 15th, 2015)

Mandatory Paid Sick Leave: 7 Steps to Compliance + Checklist

The Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act of 2014 requires California employers to begin providing paid sick leave to their employees starting on July 1, 2015.

Unlike many other California laws, the new paid sick leave law does not exclude small employers with a limited number of employees, but rather expansively defines employers as "any person employing another."

In a blog post back in September we gave you an overview and some of the key points of the new bill. Now, as the deadline to implement the new paid sick leave policies comes closer, we offer some additional guidance.

Note that San Francisco and San Diego have different regulations in place, and employers will need to comply with whichever provisions are the more advantageous to employees.

Regulation Review

As of July 1, 2015, the new law requires California employers to provide paid sick leave benefits to their employees, including all full-time, part-time, temporary, migrant and seasonal employees.

  • Employers must provide paid sick leave to these employees if they work 30 or more days within a year from the commencement of employment.
  • Employees are entitled to accrue paid sick days at a rate of one hour for every 30 hours worked.
  • Employers may limit the employee's annual use of paid sick leave benefits to 24 hours per year.
  • Employers may establish a maximum cap for unused paid sick leave of 48 hours, such that an employee who accumulates at any time the maximum cap of unused paid sick leave ceases to accrue any additional sick leave until sick leave is used and the employee's unused balance is reduced below the cap.
  • The rate of pay for sick leave is the employee's regular hourly wage (which includes commission or piece rate pay)
  • Sick leave must be paid to employees no later than the payday for the next payroll period after the sick leave was taken.
  • Employers must 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.

What Should Employers Do to Comply?

As is so often the case, the new law becomes complicated with some of the exceptions. However, the following 7 steps will set you on the path to successful compliance.

  • Display poster on paid sick leave where employees can read it easily.
  • Document policy and share with staff.
  • Provide written notice of paid sick leave information to individual employee at the time of hire.
  • Provide for accrual of one hour of sick leave for 30 hours of work for each eligible employee to use.
  • Allow eligible employees to use accrued paid sick leave upon request or notification.
  • 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.
  • Keep records showing how many hours have been earned and used for three years.

For a more detailed list, download our handy checklist (PDF)

Please contact us with any questions or concerns.

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