It is reported by the Governor’s office that currently only 6.5 million, or 40 percent, of California’s workforce does not receive paid sick leave. A new law signed earlier this month requires all California employers to offer paid sick leave to their employees.
On Wednesday, September 10, 2014, Governor Jerry Brown signed into law AB 1522: the “Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act of 2014.” Going into effect July 1, 2015, employees who work at least 30 days per year will accrue paid sick leave. Employers are required to provide a minimum of one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours of work. Employers, however, are allowed to limit employees to using 24 hours (three 8-hour work days) of paid sick leave per year. They may also put a cap on the total amount of paid sick days employees can earn at 48 hours (six 8-hour work days). The amount of paid sick days carries over each year, but cannot exceed 48 hours total. The employee can begin using their paid sick days on the 90th day of their employment.
Paid sick days can be used for the diagnosis, care, of treatment of an existing health condition for, or the preventive care of an employee, or an employee’s immediate family member. The definition of immediate family includes spouses, registered domestic partners, children (regardless of age), parents (including step-parents and parents-in-law), grandparents, and siblings.
The new law requires employers to provide their employees with written notice of their available amount of paid sick leave. The notice must be on the employee’s itemized wage statement or provided on a document delivered on the employee’s pay date. The employer must also document the employee’s usage and amount of paid sick leave earned, and retain it for at least three years. Upon request, these records must be made available to the employee within 21 days.
If the Labor Commissioner finds a violation the law has occurred, they can require reinstatement, back pay, payment of unlawfully withheld sick days, administrative penalties, and enforcement fines payable to the state.
California employers should update their sick leave and record-retention policies to make sure that they are in compliance with the new law. It is also a good idea to revise the company’s employee handbook to reflect these changes in the law.
Revision October 3, 2014, 9:32AM PST.
The law requires all employers to offer paid sick leave to all employees, however, there are certain exceptions of who qualifies as an employee. Under section 3 of the law, "employee" excludes workers such as providers of in-home supportive services, certain construction workers and air carrier employers, among other restrictions. For full text of the law, refer to: http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billNavClient.xhtml?bill_id=201320140AB1522.
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