Governor Brown Signs Bill Amending California’s Paid Sick Leave Law
California’s paid sick leave law was amended on July 13 and the bill was passed by Governor Brown as an “urgency statute”. It took effect immediately. On July 1, 2015, the Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act of 2014 went into “effect”. As a result of this act, employers are required to provide paid sick leave to employees who work 30 or more days in California in a calendar year.
A few of the more noteworthy changes are listed below:
- An employee must work for the same employer in California for 30 days to be eligible for sick leave.
- The method in which the paid sick leave is accrued was amended as well. Originally, employers provided sick leave in one of two ways: 1) employees were allowed to accrue sick leave at a minimum rate of one hour for every 30 hours of work. Or 2) simply affording the employee 24 hours at the beginning of the year.
– Employers have now been offered alternative accrual methods. These alternative methods provide greater flexibility for employers. An employee can now accrue paid sick leave per pay periods, per work week or per month. This is contingent upon the employee having 24 hours of paid sick leave available by his or her 120th calendar day of employment.
– If an employee had accrued paid sick leave prior to January 1, 2015, that accrual method will satisfy the law’s requirements if the employee is eligible to earn a minimum of 24 hours within 9 months and will accrue 8 hours of paid sick leave within 3 months. Since this “grandfathering of pre-existing accrual methods” depends on terms and conditions prior to January 1, 2015, it is advisable to seek counsel to review the applicability to your particular circumstance.
- An employer might choose to provide unlimited paid sick leave or unlimited paid time off. This should be notated on the employee’s itemized wage statement or indicated on the law’s written notice requirement. Such policies as unlimited sick leave should be carefully drafted, as there are many implications to this type of policy.
- The rate of pay has been clarified as well. Essentially, paid sick leave for exempt employees should be calculated in the same way as other forms of paid leave. However, for nonexempt employees, employers can pay out sick leave at the regular rate of pay for the work week in which an employee would use the paid sick leave or employers can divide the employee’s total wages by the employee’s total hours worked in the full pay periods of the previous 90 days of employment.
Employers should review their current paid sick leave law policies against the aforementioned changes to be sure that their policies comply with the amendments that were recently signed into law by Governor Brown.