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California Paid Sick Leave Requirements

This article is a follow up to our previous articles on the new California Paid Sick Leave requirement. As effective date of July 1, 2015 fast approaches many employers still have questions about what must be offered and are wondering if their current offerings are already compliant with the new requirements. To recap briefly, effective July 1, 2015 California employees are entitled to paid sick leave accordance with the Healthy Workplaces / Healthy Families Act of 2014, below is a brief summary of this new requirement.

Accrual Method for Paid Sick Leave:

  • An employee who works for an employer for 30 or more days within a year from the date of hire is entitled to paid sick leave, regardless of the size of the employer.
  • Paid sick leave is accrued at a rate of 1 hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked.
  • Accrual of paid sick leave begins on the date of hire.
  • Must allow a maximum of 48 hours of paid sick leave to be accrued but can limit employees to using 24 paid sick leave hours per year.
  • Unused paid sick leave hours must be carried over into the next year.

Flat Rate Method for Paid Sick Leave:

  • An employee who works for an employer for 30 or more days within a year from the date of hire is entitled to paid sick leave, regardless of the size of the employer.
  • An employee must be provided with a minimum of 24 paid sick leave hours on an annual basis.

Usage of paid sick:

  • An employee may use accrued paid sick leave beginning on the 90th day of employment.
  • An employer may not deny the employee the right to use accrued paid sick leave.
  • An employer may not retaliate against an employee for using accrued paid sick leave.
  • Paid sick leave may be used for employee’s illness or illness of a spouse, registered domestic partner, children (regardless of age), parents (including step-parents & parents-in-law) grandparents and siblings.
  • Paid sick leave may also be used by employees who are victims of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking.

Additional Information for Paid Sick Leave:

  • Paid sick leave is not required to be paid out at termination of employment.
  • The amount of available paid sick leave must be provided to employees on either each paycheck stub or a separate document each pay day.

Paid Time Off Banks:

If you offer a Paid Time Off (PTO) bank that encompasses vacation and sick time into one bank the PTO plan must meet the standards outlined above to be compliant with the Healthy Workplaces / Healthy Families Act of 2014.

What should I do to prepare?

  • Review your current offerings to ensure they meet the compliance requirements outlined above.
    • Under our currently policy are all employees eligible for paid sick time of PTO?
    • Does accrual begin on date of hire?
    • Does the accrual rate meet the minimum of 1 hour accrued for every 30 hours worked or does the flat rate provided meet the minimum of 24 hours annually?
  • Review and revise any policies that limit or restrict the use of paid sick time.
  • Revise attendance policies and any other policies where usage of paid sick time can result in a negative action such as a disciplinary action, counted an “occurrence”, affects a bonus or results in a lower score on a performance review as this can be seen as retaliation for using paid sick time, which is prohibited.

Retaliation or discrimination against an employee who requests paid sick days or uses paid sick days or both is prohibited. An employee can file a complaint with the Labor Commissioner against an employer who retaliates or discriminates against the employee.  For more information, please feel free to contact us.