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CALIFORNIA PAID SICK LEAVE

William H. Truesdell 2014 The Management Advantage, Inc.

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CAUTION
The following information is provided as a convenience to employers. It is not intended to represent legal or other professional advice. If you have specific issues regarding employer requirements, you would be well advised to discuss them with your labor attorney. Information in this report is subject to change without notice.

On September 10, 2014, California Governor Jerry Brown signed AB 1522 into law. For the first time in California there will be a requirement for employers to provide paid sick leave to employees. Here's how it will work beginning July 1, 2015...

Called the "Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act of 2014," the law requires any employee who has worked in California for 30 or more days within a year from July 1, 2015 be paid sick leave. Accrual of that leave will be at the rate of one hour for every 30 hours worked. The requirement applies to all employers in the state, regardless of the number of employees on the payroll. It applies to all employee status categories including full-time, part-time, project-related or other employee. Hourly workers accrue based on actual hours worked. Exempt employees accrue based on a presumed 40 hours per week of work time.

Employers are entitled to limit (or "cap") the number of accrued paid sick hours at 24 (or 3 days) if they wish. If an employer did that it would mean no further accrual could occur until some of the employee's 24 hours of accrued sick time had been used. An employee's accrued time will carry over into the following year.

Accrued sick time is not payable on termination of employment unless the sick time is included in a Paid Time Off (PTO) account along with vacation and/or holidays. PTO is payable on termination.

Exemptions to the requirement include:

  • Employees "covered by a valid collective bargaining agreement if the agreement expressly provides for the wages, hours of work, and working conditions of employees, and 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..."
  • A provider of in-home supportive services.
  • An individual employed by an air carrier as a flight deck or cabin crew member that is subject to provisions of Title II of the federal Railway Labor Act.

The accrued paid sick leave may be used for any of the following reasons:
  • Diagnosis, care, or treatment of an existing health condition of, or preventive care for, an employee or an employee's family member.
  • For an employee who is a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking.

It is illegal for an employer to discriminate against any employee because of their use of paid sick leave. No retaliation will be permitted. Enforcement shall be by the state Labor Commissioner.Violation by an employer provide that if paid sick days are unlawfully withheld, the dollar amount of paid sick days withheld from the employee multiplied by three, or two hundred fifty dollars ($250), whichever is greater, but not in excess of $4,000 shall be included in the administrative penalty. And, other penalties may apply depending on the judgment of the Labor Commissioner.

You may obtain a copy of the legislation (AB 1522) HERE .

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