United States: California Amends Its Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Law

As previously reported, California's Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act of 2014 (California's Sick Leave Law) took full effect on July 1, 2015, although some provisions were effective as of January 1, 2015. The new law generally requires most employers to allow employees to accrue paid sick leave. Our summary of that law's basic requirements are reported here.

Among other requirements, employers must:

  • Display a poster explaining California's Sick Leave Law. Notably, the California Department of Industrial Relations (DIR) has recently issued to employers a general reminder of this posting requirement—suggesting a stepped-up enforcement of this requirement.
  • Provide written notice to employees of their sick leave rights at the time of hire.
  • Provide for accrual of one hour for every 30 hours worked, and allow use of at least 24 hours or three days, or provide at least 24 hours or three days, at the beginning of a 12-month period of paid sick leave for each eligible employee to use per year. As noted below, this section was amended to provide for an alternative accrual method, as well.
  • Allow eligible employees to use accrued paid sick leave upon reasonable request.
  • Show the number of days of sick leave an employee has available. This notice must be displayed on a pay stub or a document issued the same day as a paycheck.
  • Keep records for three years showing how many sick leave hours have been earned and used by each employee.
  • Paid time off (PTO) policies meeting certain standards will satisfy the need for paid sick leave.

On July 13, 2015, Governor Jerry Brown signed Assembly Bill 304, amending California's Sick Leave law to make immediate changes. Those amendments include the following:

  1. Employers may use different accrual methods.
    California's Sick Leave Law, as originally enacted, provided for an accrual rate (for employers that chose an accrual method as opposed to awarding all sick leave at the beginning of each year) of no less than one hour for every 30 hours worked. The amendments provide that an employer may use an alternative accrual method if it is (a) on a regular basis, and (b) the employee has no less than 24 hours or three days paid sick leave or PTO by the 120th calendar day of employment, or each calendar year, or in each 12-month period (as determined by the employer).
  2. Employers may limit employees' use of sick leave.
    California's Sick Leave Law, as originally enacted, allowed employers to limit an employee's use (as opposed to accrual) of sick leave to three days or 24 hours in each year of employment. The amendments clarify that an employee's use of such sick leave may be limited to three days or 24 hours in (a) each year of employment, (b) each calendar year or (c) each 12-month period. The employer may determine which option to utilize.
  3. If an employer pays out accrued PTO to an employee at the time of termination, the employer does not have to re-instate the previously accrued and un-used paid sick days.
    The law requires that, if an employee separates from employment, but is re-hired within one year, the previously accrued and un-used paid sick leave must be re-instated. This amendment clarifies that, if the employer pays the accrued but un-used sick leave out at the time of separation (which is not required under the Sick Leave Law), then the employee is not entitled to re-instatement of the paid sick leave that was already paid out to them.
  4. Employers have until 2016 to comply with sick leave balance notice requirements.
    The amendments clarify that employers providing unlimited paid sick leave or unlimited PTO to an employee meets its reporting obligations by stating "unlimited" on the wage statement in place of listing hours. Further, for employers covered by Wage Orders 11 or 12 (motion picture and broadcasting industries), they have until January 1, 2016, to comply with the notice requirements.
  5. Employers have different options for calculating the amount of pay owed to employees while taking sick leave.
    California's Sick Leave Law, as originally enacted, provides that employers had to pay sick leave based on the employee's hourly rate (however that could become confusing where the employee's wage rate fluctuated during the accrual period, received commissions or salaried employees). The amendment clarifies that the employer can use any of the following calculations when determining how much to pay employees while on paid sick leave.
         - For non-exempt employees, the regular rate of pay can be calculated in the same manner as the regular rate of pay for overtime purposes in the workweek.
         - For non-exempt employees, the regular rate of pay can 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.
         - For exempt employees, employers can calculate paid sick leave in the same manner as the employer calculates wages for other forms of paid leave time.
  6. Employers need to document accrual and use of sick leave, but have no obligation to record or inquire into the reasons why an employee uses sick leave.
    The amendments clarify that an employer need not record the reasons why employees use sick leave. The employer must only document and keep records of the hours worked and paid sick days accrued and used by an employee for at least three years.
  7. Certain grandfathered paid sick leave or PTO plans.
    The amendments provide that an employer need not provide additional paid sick leave if the employer already had in place as of January 1, 2015, paid sick leave or PTO plans that meet certain qualifications (the original law permitted PTO plans to satisfy the sick leave requirements if such PTO policies were at least as generous and could be used for the same purposes). However, if the employer modifies those grandfathered plans, the employer must then comply with the new requirements.
  8. The employer is not required to re-instate accrued sick leave paid out at termination upon re-hire.
    Although an employer is generally required to re-instate accrued sick leave for any employee re-hired within one year of termination, the amendments clarify that an employer need not re-instate any such sick leave that was paid out at termination (such as, by way of example, for those employees that utilize the PTO exemption to providing separation sick leave and which is paid out upon termination).

California Amends Its Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Law

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.

Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Schnader Harrison Segal & Lewis LLP
In association with
Related Topics
Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Schnader Harrison Segal & Lewis LLP
Related Articles
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Mondaq Free Registration
Gain access to Mondaq global archive of over 375,000 articles covering 200 countries with a personalised News Alert and automatic login on this device.
Mondaq News Alert (some suggested topics and region)
Select Topics
Registration (please scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of www.mondaq.com

To Use Mondaq.com you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

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 or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.


The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq 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 of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.


Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

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