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Are You Ready for the New Mandatory Sick Leave Law?

Updated: Effective 7/13/15, AB 304 made amendments to the new sick leave law.

The following is a guest blog post by Tyler M. Paetkau, a partner with Hartnett, Smith & Paetkau in Redwood City. Tyler represents employers in all aspects of labor and employment law. He’s a frequent author and speaker on labor and employment law issues, and the former Chair of the Executive Committee of the Labor and Employment Law Section of the State Bar of California.

California employers and employment lawyers have been (hopefully) planning for the new mandatory sick leave law for many months and now it’s finally here! Here’s a look at the law.

Under the Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act of 2014, effective July 1, 2015, all California employers must allow employees who have worked 30 or more days in California within a year of their employment to accrue paid sick leave.

Some of the significant aspects to sick the leave law include:

  • No exemption for small employers or part-time and temporary employees.
  • Paid sick days must accrue at a rate of one hour for every 30 hours worked, but may be capped at 48 hours (or six 8-hour work days).
  • Accrued but unused sick days must carry over into the following year (subject to the 48 hour/six-day accrual cap).
  • Employees are not entitled to be paid for accrued but unused sick days on termination of employment, but must have unused sick leave reinstated if rehired within one year.
  • Employers must provide written notice of employees’ available paid sick leave.
  • Employers must document and retain for at least three years records of employee paid sick leave usage and accrual.
  • Employers must provide new employees notice of their entitlement to paid sick leave and their right to file a complaint for violations, as well as post a workplace notice from the Labor Commissioner on the Act. Note: the posting and notice requirements were effective January 1, 2015.
  • There is a rebuttable presumption of unlawful retaliation for any adverse employment action occurring within 30 days of an employee engaging in certain protected activity under the Act.

Employers with existing sick leave or paid time off policies don’t have to provide additional leave, as long as their policies: (1) already comply with the law’s accrual, usage, and carry over requirements; and (2) provide no less than 24 hours of paid sick leave annually. But all California employers should update their sick leave and record-retention policies (including their employee handbooks) to ensure compliance with the Act.

Get answers and specific guidance on calculating, tracking, and complying with California and federal employee leave entitlements in CEB’s new book Employee Leave Laws: Compliance and Litigation.

Other CEBblog™ posts of interest:

© The Regents of the University of California, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

One Response

  1. […] the PTO route also may mean that employers need not provide additional paid sick leave under the Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act of 2014, as long as the PTO policy meets the following requirements (Lab C […]

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