Starting July 1st, 2015, any California employee that works 30 days or more within a year is entitled to paid sick leave. The new California law called the Healthy Workplace Healthy Family Act of 2014 (AB 1522) applies to all California employees whether full-time, part-time, or temporary. For every 30 hours worked an employee gains one hour of paid sick leave. Accrual begins on the first day of employment or July 1, 2015, whichever is later.
Not all employees receive this added benefit however. Employees covered by qualifying collective bargaining agreements, In-Home Supportive Services providers, and certain employees of air carriers are not covered by this law.
That means for an employee working 40 hours a week for 48 weeks out of the year (assuming four weeks off a year), an employee will accrue 64 hours of paid sick leave a year or eight days. Employees should not get too carried away with planning eight day vacations just yet. There can be limitations on how many of those hours can be redeemed at one time. An employer can limit the amount of paid sick leave an employee can use to 24 hours or three days. The benefit to employees does not stop there. An employee may carry over her unused sick leave up to 48 hours or six days to the next year.
What does this mean for employers?
This new law will be enforced, and failing to comply may result in penalties and fines (up to $10,000). An employee can also have claim against his or her employer for failure to comply with the new standards. Ignorance of the law is no excuse. Employers must provide notice to their employees of the new law in the work place as of now or at the time of hire. They must also reflect sick leave accrual on paychecks and allow for sick leave upon reasonable request.
There are alternative methods to providing for sick leave by the accrual method explained in the example above. Employers may choose to provide sick leave in advance at the beginning of the year (which can cap the sick leave to three days), or employers may choose the Paid Time Off (PTO) method. The bottom line is employers are required to provide at least 24 hours or 3 days of paid sick leave a year depending on what sick leave method an employer chooses. Please refer to your attorney about the different options available and which if the best for your business.
For more information visit the California Department of Industrial Relations website at http://www.dir.ca.gov/dlse/ab1522.html