The Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act of 2014 (“the Act”) mandated paid sick leave for all employees effective July 1, 2015.
The Paid Sick Leave Poster was required to be posted by January 1, 2015. In addition, the new version of the Wage and Employment Notice to Employees (required since 2012) should have been distributed to all new and existing employees.
If the employer prefers to alert the existing employees of the new benefits in a different manner, they may opt to use a written document that contains all of the required information about sick leave or reflect the changes on an itemized wage statement.
Who is required to comply and who is entitled to the benefits?
The paid sick leave mandate applies to all employers, regardless of size, and applies to both public and private employers, for-profit and not-for-profit.
Part-time and full-time, exempt and non-exempt employees, who on or after July 1, 2015, have worked in California for the same employer for 30 or more days within a year are entitled to be paid sick leave. In addition, temporary, seasonal, and out of state employees may be covered if they spend enough time working for a business in California.
There are only five groups of employees who may not be eligible for benefits; employees under a collective bargaining agreement that provides sick leave, construction employees under collective bargaining agreement, providers of publicly funded in-home support services, some air carrier employees.
How is sick leave calculated?
There are four different accrual methods and one lump sum calculation that can be used to calculate sick pay.
• The statutory mandated accrual method
• Option accrual method
• Alternative accrual method for new hires
• Pre-existing employer policy in effect prior to January 1, 2015
• Lump sum approach
Employers who choose to use an accrual method should strongly consider placing a cap on the maximum amount of time that can be accrued. Accrued paid sick leave is not payable upon termination. However, if the company pays PTO in place of paid sick leave, the accrued time is payable.
If the employer does not have a paid sick leave policy in place and/or the appropriate notices have not been issued and posted, put a plan together right away.
Consult your HR professional or labor attorney to ensure your policy is in compliance.
If the employer already has a plan in place, make sure to follow through and review the plan periodically to ensure compliance.
This article is intended to give a brief overview of the Act. Consult legal counsel prior to implementing or planning a paid sick leave or PTO policy.