New Law Focuses on Sick Pay Accrual | Employment and Labor Law
This article was originally published in the June/July 2015 Issue of Kern Business Journal.
Employment and Labor Law | Beginning July 1, 2015, employees who work in California for 30 days or more within a year will accrue sick pay thanks to the Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act of 2014. The Act, signed by Governor Jerry Brown on September 10, 2014, applies to employers regardless of size, with only a few enumerated exceptions.
The employer’s obligation to provide paid sick leave under the law does not take effect until July 1, 2015. However, on Jan. 1, 2015, covered employers are required to:
- Post in a conspicuous place at the workplace a poster containing various requirements under the law.
- Issue newly hired nonexempt employees an updated “Notice to Employee” (required under California Labor Code section 2810.5) that includes paid sick leave information
Highlights of New Law
- Employees who, on or after July 1, 2015, work in California “for 30 or more days within a year” are entitled to accrue paid sick leave at the rate of “not less than one hour per every 30 hours worked.” This means that a full-time employee working 40 hours per week could accrue up to 8.67 days of paid sick time per year.
- An employee who is exempt from overtime requirements is “deemed to work 40 hours per workweek” for purposes of sick leave accrual unless the employee’s normal workweek is less than 40 hours.
- While an employee starts accruing paid sick time after working 30 days, the employee may not use it until the 90th day of employment. An employer may, at its discretion, lend paid sick leave to an employee in advance of accrual if “proper documentation” is maintained.
- An employer may cap an employee’s annual use of paid sick leave to 24 hours per year. Similarly, an employer may choose to cap an employee’s annual accrual of paid sick leave to 48 hours per year.
- Accrued sick leave shall carry over to the following year, although an employer may limit an employee’s use of paid sick days to 24 hours or three days in each year of employment. No accrual or carry over is required if the full amount of leave is received at the beginning of each year.
- An employer may set a minimum increment for the use of paid sick leave of no more than two hours.
- Employers are not required to pay out accrued but unused sick leave. However, if the employer uses a PTO policy, that PTO policy might be subject to payout under California law. If the employee is rehired within one year, the employee is entitled to reinstatement of the accrued but unused sick time.
Jerry Pearson is a Partner at Young Wooldridge, LLP. He specializes in Labor and Employment Law and manages the firm’s Business Department.
For additional information on the Act, or to have your current sick leave or paid time off policy reviewed to see if it complies with the requirements of the new law, contact the employment law attorneys at The Law Offices of Young Wooldridge, LLP, in Bakersfield.
Call today for a confidential consultation! 661.327.9661
Like us on Facebook for more information!