Friday, September 26, 2014

It’s Official – Paid Sick Leave for California Employees in 2015

Over the last few months, paid sick leave laws and ordinances have been passed by city councils and state legislatures.  Connecticut was the first state to enact such a measure, and now cities including Newark, Eugene, New York City, and Washington, D.C., have implemented or expanded paid sick leave requirements. We’ll keep an eye on the trend, and as always we’ll look to the trendsetter state of California:
As of July 1, 2015, virtually all California employers will be required to provide at least 3 days or 24 hours of paid sick leave annually to each of their employees. California is the second state to mandate paid sick leave for employees, following Connecticut.
Who is covered?  All employers, regardless of number of employees, and all employees, whether part-time, full-time, exempt, non-exempt, or seasonal, are covered if they work at least 30 hours in a year for the employer.  Some in-home support service providers are exempt, as are some employees covered by collective bargaining agreements.
What does it include? “Sick leave” includes time off work for (1) the diagnosis, care or treatment of an employee’s own health condition or preventive care, (2) an employee’s absence due to being a victim of domestic assault, sexual violence and/or stalking and (3) the diagnosis, care or treatment of a health condition or preventive care of an employee’s child (no limitations on age or dependency), spouse, parent, registered domestic partner, grandparent, grandchild or sibling.
How is it accrued?  Employees accrue 1 hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked.  They must be allowed to use the sick leave in increments of no less than 2 hours.  They cannot be required to use more than 2 hours at one time.  Employers may “cap” the annual use at 3 days or 24 hours per year.
When can it be used?  An employee must be allowed to use accrued sick leave beginning on the 90th day of employment and whenever necessary thereafter.  There are anti-retaliation provisions in the law.  Requiring an employee to find a replacement worker is unlawful.
How is it paid?  Employees must be paid sick leave in the pay period it is used.  It must be paid at the employee’s normal rate of pay.
Does it carry over to the next year? Although employers may limit the annual use of sick leave to 3 days or 24 hours, they must allow employees to accrue and bank up to a maximum of 6 days or 48 hours of paid sick leave.  There is an exception if the employer opts to provide 3 days of paid sick leave at the beginning of each calendar or anniversary year.
As would be expected, there are notice, recordkeeping and posting requirements in the law, and regulations will be coming out.  Watch this space for developments.

Posted by: Sarah Mott