United States: Paid Sick Time Law Developments In The State Of California; Emeryville, California; Eugene, Oregon; And Bloomfield, New Jersey

The wave of new sick leave legislation continues across the country.  At the same time, state and local governments continue to refine existing laws to address new laws passed, as well as the complexities that surround providing for and administering paid sick leave benefits.

California Amendments of Paid Sick Leave Law Pending

After much discussion and more than half a dozen versions, the California Assembly voted 67-0 on June 22, 2015 to amend California's paid sick leave law (PSL), the Healthy Workers, Healthy Families Act of 2014.1 In order to change the PSL law, the amendments must also pass through the Senate on a two-thirds vote and be signed by Governor Jerry Brown.  The bill is considered an urgency measure. If it passes through the Senate and up to the Governor, these amendments would become effective immediately upon the Governor's approval.  The urgency was based the Legislature's desire to tweak and clarify some provisions of the current PSL law, much of which takes effect on July 1, 2015.

The present pending amendments change some critical issues and clarify other areas of concern for California employers, including clarifying that an employer may use any one of three methods to calculate the rate of pay for sick time.  The amendments:

  • Clarify that an employee must work for the same employer for 30 or more days within a year of the commencement of employment to be eligible to use sick leave time.    
  • Allow for alternative accrual methods for all leave banks.  Employers may still provide paid sick time using accrual based on hours worked (1 hour for every 30 hours worked) or frontloading of 24 hours or 3 days, whichever is greater, at the start of the year measurement period.  Other accrual methods, however, such as providing a set amount per pay period or per quarter, will now comply with the statute provided that the employee accrues leave on a regular basis, and no less than 24 hours of paid sick time by the 120th calendar day of the year. See Labor Code section 246(b)(3).  It is still the case that an employer can only avoid carryover if the full 24 hours or 3 days of leave are frontloaded at the beginning of the designated year. 
  • Grandfather leave banks existing as of January 1, 2015.  Leave policies in place as of January 1, 2015 that provide for accrual: (a) on a regular basis; and (b) of no less than one day or eight hours of accrued leave within three months of employment of each year, and under which the employee was eligible to earn at least three days or 24 hours of sick leave or paid time off within nine months of employment, will comply with the amended law.  However, if an employer modifies the accrual method used in the policy it had in place prior to January 1, 2015, the employer must satisfy the alternative accrual methods described above.  This change does not prohibit the employer from increasing the accrual amount or rate for a class of employees covered by this subdivision.  This is a late, but important, development for employers and they should consider whether revisions to existing leave banks (if not already implemented) must be made.
  • Allow employers with unlimited or undefined leave banks to indicate "unlimited" on the employee's itemized wage statement.  Prior to implementing such an "unlimited" bank, employers should carefully consider whether the use of such a leave bank is the right decision for their business and whether an "unlimited" notation on wage statements accurately reflects their policy.
  • Allow employers to calculate the rate of pay for employees using any of the following methods: 
(1) Paid sick time for nonexempt employees shall be calculated in same manner as the regular rate of pay for the workweek in which the employee uses paid sick time, whether or not the employee actually works overtime in that workweek. 

(2) Paid sick time for nonexempt employees shall 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.

(3)  Paid sick time for exempt employees shall be calculated in the same manner as the employer calculates wages for other forms of paid leave time. 

  • Clarify that employers are not required to reinstate accrued paid time to an employee if that paid time was paid out at separation of employment.
  • Clarify that employers have no obligation to inquire or record the purposes for which an employee uses sick leave or paid time off.
  • Clarify that an employer may choose the year to be used (employment, calendar, or 12-month period), except that the 30-day requirement uses a 12-month rolling backwards year.
  • Exclude retired annuitant of a public entity from the definition of employee. 
  • For employers in the broadcasting and motion picture industries, delay the requirement to provide notice of the amount of paid sick time available each time wages are paid until January 21, 2016.  For all other employers, this obligation begins on July 1, 2015. 

Employers should review their existing and proposed policies to determine the best compliance options given the potential new options available.

Emeryville, California Paid Sick Leave Ordinance Set to Take Effect July 1, 2015

On June 2, 2015, Emeryville, California passed its own paid sick leave ordinance, slated to take effect on July 1, 2015.  The Emeryville ordinance attempts to apply portions of the original paid sick leave law passed in California, the Healthy Workers, Healthy Families Act of 2014.  

At first glance, this ordinance may seem to be just another "run-of-the-mill" sick leave law.  However, the ordinance includes many nuances, including allowing an employee to take time off from work to aid or care for the guide dog, signal dog, or service dog of the employee, employee's family member, or other designated person.  In addition, because of the pending amendments to California's PSL law, it is unclear whether Emeryville will modify its ordinance and which provisions of the California PSL law will be incorporated into the Emeryville ordinance.  As a result, it is recommended that employers with employees performing work in Emeryville seek assistance from qualified employment counsel to understand and address the ordinance's complexities.

Eugene, Oregon Paid Sick Time Act Will be Repealed

On June 23, 2015, Oregon's governor signed into law a state-wide paid sick leave act.  This state-wide law preempts Eugene's Paid Sick Time Act. In anticipation of the Governor's signature on this state-wide law, the Eugene City Council voted on June 17, 2015 to:

  • Move the implementation date of the Eugene Sick Leave Ordinance from July 1, 2015 to January 1, 2016, effective immediately; and
  • Automatically repeal the ordinance on January 1, 2016, should the pending state-wide sick leave legislation be signed into law (and not referred to voters).

Given this action, employers do not need to change their policies in Eugene for a July 1, 2015 start date.  However, employers should now turn their attention to the state-wide paid sick leave law, which will be effective January 1, 2016.2

Reminder:  Bloomfield, New Jersey Set to Take Effect June 30

Finally, employers with employees working in Bloomfield, New Jersey are obligated to comply with Bloomfield's Paid Sick Leave law beginning on June 30, 2015. 


1 See Michelle Barrett Falconer and Pam Salgado, An Update on the Epidemic: California’s Statewide Paid Sick Leave Law, Littler Insight (Jan. 12, 2015).

2 See Doug Parker and Don Stait, Oregon Becomes Fourth State to Pass Paid Sick Leave Law, Littler ASAP (June 15, 2015).

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.

In association with
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
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
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
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 you may opt out by clicking here

    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.


    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.


    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.

    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.


    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.


    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.


    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.


    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 .


    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.

    By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions