New California Sick Leave Law Requires Employers’ Immediate Attention

Effective July 1, 2015, under the Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act of 2014; all California employers must provide their California employees with at least three days or 24 hours of paid sick leave per year.

Covered Employers and Employees 

The new law applies to all employers that have at least one employee in the State of California. All employees who work more than 30 days in a year in California are covered (including part-time and temporary employees), except for employees covered by certain collective bargaining agreements, certain providers of in-home support services, and certain airline industry employees.

EMPLOYERS MUST GUARANTEE AT LEAST THREE PAID SICK DAYS PER YEAR 

Once an employee works 30 days, an employer is required to provide that employee with at least one hour of sick leave for every 30 hours worked. Employees are able to use paid sick time for preventive care for themselves or a family member.

In general, an employer must allow accrued paid sick leave to roll over to the next year. However, an employer may limit the use of paid sick leave in a year to 24 hours, or three days, in each year of employment. No accrual or carry-over is required if an employer provides the full amount of sick leave at the beginning of each year, allowing the employee to take sick leave before he or she would have otherwise accrued it.

YOUR EXISTING POLICIES MAY NEED TO BE MODIFIED

Employers are not required to increase the number of paid leave days provided for in existing policies if the paid leave policy (or paid time off policy) provides the same benefits as the new law. Yet, even these general PTO policies need to be examined to make sure that employees are advised that they need to use PTO time for sick leave.

Many employers who provide more than the minimum three paid sick days mistakenly assume their current policies are adequate. However, the new law has several other requirements that are often overlooked, such as record keeping, notice, and posting rules. All employers should carefully review their policies and procedures, as most will require updating to comply with the new law’s mandates.

Contact George & Shields to discuss your current sick leave policy and ensure your compliance with the new law.