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Managing medical leaves of absence in California can be challenging. In 2014, California enacted AB 1522 which created California’s paid sick leave (PSL) law applicable to most California employers. Although California’s Paid Sick Leave law did not become effective until July 1, 2015, California has already begun tweaking the new benefit. Effective July 13, 2015, California’s new paid sick leave law, codified in California Labor Code §§ 245.5 and 246, was clarified and amended. To add to the difficulties, California just passed two new bills: (1) SB 579 which broadened the paid sick leave requirements, and (2) AB 304 which again sought to clarify California’s existing Paid Sick Leave law.
Effective January 21, 2016, AB 304 amends California Labor Code § 245.5 (The Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act of 2014) to clarify when and how California employers must provide paid sick leave. Under the law, to be eligible for the paid sick leave benefit, a California employee must work for the same employer for 30 or more days within a 12 month time period. AB 304 confirms that all California employees (except those covered under a collective bargaining agreement and retired annuitants) who work 30 or more days for the same employer in a year are entitled to accrue up to three days (24 hours) of paid sick leave annually with an optional rollover for a total accrual of up to 6 days (48 hours) in total. See Labor Code §§ 246(b)(1), 246(d), and 246(i).
Paid sick leave must accrue at a rate of not less than 1 hour per every 30 hours worked and must be made available to the employee after 90 days of employment, or if the employee is not paid hourly then all 24 hours must accrue by the 120th day of employment. Alternatively, however, an employer may grant all of its employees the full 3 days (24 hours) of paid sick leave at the beginning of each year. See Labor Code § 246(d). Paid time off policies that provide for the same accrual of paid time off may satisfy the paid sick leave requirement. AB 304 clarifies that employers who already provide at least 3 days of paid sick leave are not required to provide additional paid sick days. See Labor Code § 246(d). The bill also expressly provides that a California employer is not required to reinstate accrued paid time off to a rehired employee that was paid out at the time of termination, resignation, or separation of employment. See Labor Code §§ 245.5(a)(1) and 246(e).
New Paid Sick Leave Notice Required.
Labor Code Section 246(h) further provides that all California employers must now provide their employees with written notice when wages are paid (via wage statement or a separate writing) as to their accrued and available paid sick leave, or paid time off leave. If a California employer provides unlimited paid sick leave, or unlimited paid time off, AB 304 provides that the employer may satisfy the specified written notice requirement by indicating “unlimited leave” on the employee's itemized wage statement.
The bill requires employers to allow their employees to use their accrued and available paid sick leave for preventative care and the diagnosis, care, or treatment of an existing health condition of the employee or the employee’s family member (defined as a child, parent, spouse, registered domestic partner, grandparent, grandchild and sibling) and prohibits an employer from terminating, or retaliating against, an employee for using his or her paid sick leave to attend to such an illness. Labor Code § 246(j) provides that the employee may determine how much paid sick leave to use, but allows the employer to set a “reasonable” minimum increment (up to 2 hours) for the use of paid sick leave. Labor Code § 246.5(b) further provides that the employer cannot require an employee using paid sick leave to search or find a replacement worker to cover the hours and/or days the employee is out on paid sick leave.
The DLSE has published a new paid sick leave poster that must be posted in the workplace by January 1, 2015, to notify employees of their paid sick leave rights. You can download the poster here.
The DLSE has also updated the Labor Code § 2810.5 “Notice to Employee" to include information on employers' paid sick leave policies. This Revised Notice to Employee" must be used starting January 1, 2016.
Tags: California Paid Sick Leave
Posted In: Employment Law News
Blog Categories:Business Law Bulletin
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Disclaimer: The information presented on this web site was prepared by Melissa C. Marsh for general informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. The information provided in my articles and alerts should not be relied upon, or used as a substitute for professional legal advice from an attorney you retain to advise or represent you. Your use of this Internet site does not create an attorney- client relationship. Transmission of this article is not intended to create, and receipt of it does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship. All uses of the contents of this site, other than personal uses, are prohibited. You may print or email a copy of any information posted on this web site for your own personal, non-commercial, use, but you may not publish any of the articles or posts on this web site without the Express Written Permission of Melissa C. Marsh.
Located in Los Angeles, California, the Law Office of Melissa C. Marsh handles business law and corporation law matters as a lawyer for clients throughout Los Angeles including Burbank, Sherman Oaks, Studio City, Valley Village, North Hollywood, Woodland Hills, Hollywood, West LA as well as Riverside County, San Fernando, Ventura County, and Santa Clarita. Attorney Melissa C. Marsh has considerable experience handling business matters both nationally and internationally. We routinely assist our clients with incorporation, forming a California corporation, forming a California llc, partnership, annual minutes, shareholder meetings, director meetings, getting a taxpayer ID number (EIN), buying a business, selling a business, commercial lease review, employee disputes, independent contractors, construction, and personal matters such as preparing a will, living trust, power of attorney, health care directive, and more.