United States: California Employers May Get Ill Over California’s New Mandatory Paid Sick Leave Law

The collective sobbing you may have recently heard from the west coast of the United States was that of California employers in response to Governor Jerry Brown's September 10, 2014 signing of AB 1522 – California's new paid sick leave law called the Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act of 2014. California employers already have myriad employment laws to track, comply with and administer. And given the sheer volume and complexity of California's employment laws, strict compliance is often challenging enough for employers. The new paid sick leave law will add to that challenge.

The new paid sick leave law will go into effect on July 1, 2015. Employers, with at least one employee who works more than 30 days in a year in California, must provide up to 24 hours of paid sick leave in a calendar year to current and new employees. Employees, including part-time and temporary, who work more than 30 days in a year are entitled to earn sick leave. However, the new law excludes certain types of employees:

  1. An employee covered by a valid collective bargaining agreement if the agreement expressly provides for paid sick days or a paid leave or paid time off policy that permits the use of sick days for those employees;
  2. An employee in the construction industry covered by a valid collective bargaining agreement if the agreement expressly provides, in part, for regular hourly pay of not less than 30 percent more than the state minimum wage rate;
  3. A provider of in-home supportive services; and
  4. An individual employed by an air carrier as a flight deck or cabin crew member.

But there's more, much more. The following are some of the key provisions and requirements under the new law:

  • An employee who, on or after July 1, 2015, works in California for 30 or more days within a year from the commencement of employment is entitled to paid sick days.
  • An employee accrues paid sick days at the rate of one hour per every 30 hours worked.
  • Exempt employees accrue sick days based on the lesser of their normal work schedule or a 40-hour workweek.
  • An employee can use accrued paid sick days after being employed for 90 days, after which day the employee may use paid sick days as they are accrued.
  • Accrued paid sick days carry over to the following year of employment, but an employer can limit an employee's use of paid sick days to 24 hours or three days in each year of employment. However, no accrual or carry over is required if the full amount of leave is received at the beginning of each year. An employer is not required to provide additional paid sick days if the employer has a paid leave policy or paid time off policy that makes available an amount of leave that may be used for the same purposes and under the same conditions as specified in the new law, and the policy does either of the following: (1) Satisfies the accrual, carry over, and use requirements of this section, and (2) Provides no less than 24 hours or three days of paid sick leave, or equivalent paid leave or paid time off, for employee use for each year of employment or calendar year or 12-month basis.
  • An employer can cap the sick day accrual at 48 hours or 6 days, provided that it does not otherwise limit the employee's rights to accrue and use paid sick leave.
  • An employer is not required to provide compensation to an employee for accrued, unused paid sick days upon termination, resignation, retirement, or other separation from employment. However, if an employee separates from an employer and is rehired by the employer within one year from the date of separation, previously accrued and unused paid sick days must be reinstated. The employee is then entitled to use those previously accrued and unused paid sick days and to accrue additional paid sick days upon rehiring.
  • An employer may lend paid sick days to an employee in advance of accrual, at the employer's discretion and with proper documentation.
  • An employer must provide written notice to an employee that sets forth the amount of paid sick leave available, or paid time off leave an employer provides in lieu of sick leave. This notice can be provided on an itemized wage statement or in a separate written notice provided to the employee with his/her wage statement.
  • An employee may determine how much paid sick leave he or she needs to use, provided that an employer may set a reasonable minimum increment, not to exceed two hours, for the use of paid sick leave.
  • The rate of pay is the employee's hourly wage. If the employee in the 90 days of employment before taking accrued sick leave had different hourly pay rates, was paid by commission or piece rate, or was a nonexempt salaried employee, then the rate of pay will be calculated by dividing the employee's total wages, not including overtime premium pay, by the employee's total hours worked in the full pay periods of the prior 90 days of employment.
  • If the need for paid sick leave is foreseeable, the employee must provide reasonable advance notification. If the need for paid sick leave is unforeseeable, the employee must provide notice of the need for the leave as soon as practicable.
  • An employer must provide payment for sick leave taken by an employee no later than the payday for the next regular payroll period after the sick leave was taken.
  • An employer must display a poster in a "conspicuous place" containing information about the accrual and use of sick days. Good news here though, the Labor Commissioner is supposed to create a poster containing this information and make it available to employers. OK, so maybe not good news, but I'm just trying to find the silver lining in all of this.

And for you out of state employers, with only a few employees in California, who might be thinking "this law can't possibly apply to me all the way over here in [INSERT THE NAME OF THE STATE, OTHER THAN CALIFORNIA, WHERE YOUR MAIN BUSINESS OPERATIONS ARE]," think again. If you have employees in California, then this new law is going to apply to your California employees as well.

Note that I said, these are "some" of the key provisions. There is a lot more going on in the law, which we encourage you to read. You should also then review your sick leave and/or PTO policies, including with your trusted employment counsel, to determine if and how to revise them to be in compliance by next year. In local jurisdictions, which already have paid sick leave ordinances like San Francisco, you should also consider how this new law squares with those ordinances – yet another compliance challenge.

Speaking of compliance challenges, this new law also provides a good reminder to CA employers and even those employers based in other states, but with CA-based employees, that California's employment laws are often times unique and more comprehensive and complex than similar federal laws or other states' laws. For example, non-compete restrictions are void under California law, California has its own FMLA law called the California Family Rights Act, and California's Pregnancy Disability Leave Law, just to name a few, and thus even more reason to review your employment agreements, employee handbooks, and policies to make sure you are in compliance with California law.

Well, at least the weather in California is great, right?

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Authors
 
In association with
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Tools
Print
Font Size:
Translation
Channels
Mondaq on Twitter
 
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
 
Email Address
Company Name
Password
Confirm Password
Position
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Accounting
 Anti-trust
 Commercial
 Compliance
 Consumer
 Criminal
 Employment
 Energy
 Environment
 Family
 Finance
 Government
 Healthcare
 Immigration
 Insolvency
 Insurance
 International
 IP
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Litigation
 Media & IT
 Privacy
 Real Estate
 Strategy
 Tax
 Technology
 Transport
 Wealth Mgt
Regions
Africa
Asia
Asia Pacific
Australasia
Canada
Caribbean
Europe
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
U.K.
United States
Worldwide Updates
Check to state you have read and
agree to our Terms and Conditions

Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

Use of www.mondaq.com

You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about Mondaq.com’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.

Disclaimer

Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.

Registration

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here .

If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq by clicking here .

Information Collection and Use

We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to unsubscribe@mondaq.com with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

Mondaq News Alerts

In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.

Cookies

A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

Log Files

We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.

Links

This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

Surveys & Contests

From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.

Mail-A-Friend

If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.

Emails

From time to time Mondaq may send you emails promoting Mondaq services including new services. You may opt out of receiving such emails by clicking below.

*** If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of services offered by Mondaq you may opt out by clicking here .

Security

This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to webmaster@mondaq.com.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to EditorialAdvisor@mondaq.com.

Notification of Changes

If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

How to contact Mondaq

You can contact us with comments or queries at enquiries@mondaq.com.

If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at problems@mondaq.com and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.