Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families! Paid Sick Leave Will be the Law in California Next Summer

Starting July 2015, California Employers in California must give part and full-time workers at least three days of paid sick leave each year. Here’s a very quick summary of the new rules – we’ll delve deeper in the ten months before it takes effect.

The new law, signed by Gov. Jerry Brown on September 10, 2014, gives workers paid sick leave at a rate of one hour for every 30 hours worked and lets them begin using the accrued time after 90 days of employment. The hours could also be used for time off to care for a sick family members, including a child, parent, spouse, registered domestic partner, grandparent, grandchild or sibling.
An employee could also use the paid sick leave in conjunction with protected time off for an employee who is a victim of domestic violence or stalking.

Accrued but unused paid sick days will carry over to the next year, but in certain circumstances the employer may limit the workers’ use of the paid time to 24 hours (3 days) per year.

As with the San Francisco Paid Sick Leave Ordinance enacted in 2006, if an employer already offers a paid sick leave program (either paid sick leave or “PTO”), the terms of that program should be reviewed to ensure the accrual, carryover, and protections in the existing program are at least as generous (if not more so) than the new law.

Employers will be required to display posters telling employees of their right to paid sick days and informing them that retaliation for requesting or using paid sick days is illegal. Employers could face fines of up to $4,000 per day for withholding paid sick leave or violating the bill’s requirements. Offer letters, handbooks, and other policy statements should be reviewed and revised appropriately.

The requirement applies to both full-time and part-time employees, but exempts workers subject to certain collective bargaining agreements and airline flight crews and attendants who are under federal labor laws. As reported by the L.A. Times, a late amendment was added to the bill to exempt state-funded in-home healthcare providers because including them would have cost the state $106 million annually.

For your reading pleasure, you can find the full text of the new law here:

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