By Kate Gold and Saba Shatara

The Issue:  Are California employers required to provide employees with paid sick leave?

The Solution:  California Assembly Bill (“AB”) 1522 will require employers to provide employees with at least 24 hours of paid sick leave starting July 1, 2015.

Analysis:  The Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act of 2014 (the “Act”) requires all California employers[1] to provide paid sick leave to any employee who works 30 days or more within a year.  Employees are entitled either to accrue paid sick leave at a rate of “not less than one hour for every 30 hours worked” or to receive at least three days of paid sick leave at the beginning of each year.  If employees accrue sick leave, they are entitled to use accrued paid sick days beginning on the 90th day of employment.  Further, unless sick days are granted at the start of each year, employees are permitted to carry over unused, paid sick leave to the following year, but employers may cap accrual of paid sick leave at 48 hours or six days.  Employers need not pay employees for accrued, unpaid sick days upon termination.

Sick leave may be used for the diagnosis, care, or treatment of an existing health condition of, or preventive care for, an employee or an employee's parents, children, spouses, parents-in-law, grandparents, grandchildren, and siblings. Sick leave may also be used for victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking.

The Act also requires that employers display updated workplace posters, amend Wage Theft Protection Act Notices, and and provide employees with written notice of the amount of paid sick leave available.  The Act also prohibits employers from discriminating or retaliating against employees who attempt to exercise his rights under the Act.

Employers should  review policies to ensure compliance and prevent retaliation and should also (1) monitor the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement website for updated template notices/posters, (2) review Wage Theft Prevention Act Notices, (3) ensure that timekeeping systems are capable of calculating and tracking accrued and unused sick leave, and (4) provide notice of an employee’s accrued sick days on wage statements or by other written notice.

[1] The Act applies to part-time, temporary, and seasonal employees, but excludes employees governed by a valid collective bargaining agreement that provides certain protections and does not apply to certain construction employees covered by collective bargaining agreements, in-home supportive services providers, and certain air carrier and flight personnel.

Source: California HR Newsletter