California Employees Win Paid Sick Leave

California Governor Jerry Brown signed into law the Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act of 2014 (AB No. 1522) giving employees three days of paid sick leave. The law, which amends the California Labor Code, will allow approximately 6.5 million eligible workers in California to accrue paid sick days at a rate of one hour for every 30 hours worked. It covers both public and private employers, but some types of employees are excluded (see Exclusions below).

California is the second state in the U.S. to pass a paid sick leave law. Connecticut was the first in 2011.

What Employers Need to Know about California’s Paid Sick Leave Law

Eligibility: Beginning July 1, 2015, employees must work for at least 30 days within a year from the commencement of employment. The law applies to both employees who are exempted from overtime pay laws as well as those eligible for overtime pay.

Eligibility Exclusions

The law excludes certain California workers from eligibility for paid sick leave:

  • Employees covered by valid collective bargaining agreements with existing paid sick days, paid leave, or paid time off policies that permit the use of sick days.
  • Certain employees in the construction industry.
  • Providers of in-home supportive services.
  • Air carrier flight deck or cabin crew members who are subject to the provisions of Title II of the federal Railway Labor Act.

Sick Leave Usage

  • Employees can use accrued sick days beginning the ninetieth day of employment.
  • An employer may lend paid sick days to an employee in advance of accrual.
  • The requested paid sick leave may be used in the diagnosis, care, or treatment of an existing health condition of, or preventive care for:
    • The Employee
    • Children (biological, adopted, foster, stepchild, or legal ward)
    • Parents (biological, adoptive, foster, stepparent, or legal guardian of the employee or employee’s spouse or registered domestic partner)
    • Spouse or Registered Domestic Partner
    • Grandparents
    • Grandchildren
    • Siblings

Limits of Accrual

  • Accrual of paid sick days is capped to 24 hours (or the eight-hour days) in each year of employment.
  • Employees may carry over accrued sick leave time into subsequent calendar years; however, the total amount an employee may accrue remains 24 hours.
  • Employers do not have to pay out accrued sick leave to employees upon termination, resignation, retirement, or other separation from employment.

Retaliation: Discriminating or retaliating against employees who request paid sick days is unlawful.

California Employer Notice and Posting Requirements

Employers are required to display the new California Paid Sick Leave Act posting in each workplace. Failure to display the posting are subject to a fine of $100 per offense.

Employers also need to provide employees written notice regarding the paid sick leave balance on each employee’s itemized wage statement or separately on the designated pay date with the employee’s payment of wages.

Save 20% now on the new California Healthy Families Act posting and other postings required for California employers, which are part of the GovDocs California Posting Packages:

  • Notice to Employees – Unemployment Insurance, Disability Insurance, and Paid Family Leave
  • Safety & Health Protection on the Job
  • Discrimination and Harassment are Prohibited by Law
  • Pay Day Notice
  • Access to Medical Records
  • Time Off for Voting
  • Minimum Wage
  • Emergency Phone Numbers
  • No Smoking Except In Designated Areas
  • No Smoking
  • Notice A, Pregnancy Disability Leave
  • Notice B, Family Care and Medical Leave
  • Whistleblowers’ Protection Act
  • Notice to Employees – Injuries Caused by Work
  • IWC Wage Order (multiple industries)
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Save 20% on all Federal, California State Labor Law Posters, and California City Labor Law Posters at the GovDocs Labor Law Poster Store with Coupon Code 2015MIN.
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