South San Francisco: 650-615-4860

Walnut Creek: 925-322-8889

4 minutes reading time (858 words)

Issue 2 - 2015 Newsletter

In This Issue:

  • Changes to California Paid Sick Leave Law

Changes to California Paid Sick Leave Law
On July 13, 2015, California’s new paid sick leave law, the Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act of 2014, was amended in an effort to clarify several of its requirements. The changes may be of particular importance to those employers who would like to maintain their existing sick leave and/or paid time off policies. The changes to the law went into effect immediately, and include the following:

Eligibility for Sick Leave:

  • The original law provided that all employees who work in California for 30 or more days within a year from the beginning of their employment are eligible for paid sick leave. The law now clarifies that employees must work in California for the same employer for 30 days or more.
  • The original law included an exemption from its requirements for an “employee in the construction industry” working under certain types of Collective Bargaining Agreements. The definition of “employee in the construction industry” has been changed by eliminating the requirement that the employee perform “on-site” work. Unfortunately, the scope of this exemption is still unclear.
  • A new exemption from the paid sick leave law has been added for employees of the state, city, county, city and county, district or any other public entity who are recipients of a retirement allowance and employed without reinstatement into certain retirement systems.

 
Accrual of Sick Leave

  • The original law provided that employees had to accrue at least one hour of sick leave for every 30 hours worked; the law now provides that employers may use another method of accrual as long as: (1) sick leave is accrued on a “regular basis;” and (2) employees will have accrued at least 24 hours of sick leave by the 120th calendar day of employment or each calendar year, or in each 12-month period.

 
Replenishment Option:

  • For employers who choose to “front load” three days or 24 hours of sick leave rather than have employees accrue sick leave as they work, the paid sick leave law has been clarified to state that the 24 hours or 3 days of sick leave may be provided at the beginning of each year of employment (anniversary year), calendar year, or 12-month period.

 
Limits on Use of Sick Leave:

  • Paid sick leave law has been clarified to state that employers may limit employee use of sick leave to 24 hours or 3 days within an anniversary year, calendar year, or 12-month period.

 
Existing Paid Sick Leave/PTO Policies:

  • Paid sick leave law states that employers do not need to provide additional sick leave if they have a policy that permits employees to take paid time off for the same purposes and under the same conditions as the paid sick leave law requires, and that satisfies the accrual, carry over and use requirements of the paid sick leave law.  The law now also states that employers do not need to provide additional sick leave if they had a sick leave or PTO policy in place before January 1, 2015, that met all the following criteria:
    • Sick time/PTO accrues on a regular basis;
    • Employees accrue no less than one day or 8 hours of sick time/PTO within three months of each calendar year or 12-month period; and
    • Employees are eligible to earn at least 3 days or 24 hours of sick time/PTO within 9 months of employment.
  • The law further provides that if an employer modifies the accrual method used in the policy it had in place prior to January 1, 2015, the new accrual method must comply with accrual methods required by the paid sick leave law or the employer must provide the full amount of leave at the beginning of each year of employment, calendar year, or 12-month period.

 
Reinstatement of Accrued Sick Leave: 

—  The law now provides that if an employer opts to pay out accrued sick leave at termination, then the employer does not need to reinstate the accrued sick leave if the employee is re-hired within a year of separation.

Record-keeping:

  • The law now provides that employers have no obligation to inquire into or record the reasons an employee uses paid time off or paid leave.


Calculation of Paid Sick Leave Pay:

—  The law now provides three options to calculate paid sick leave pay:

  • Employers may calculate paid sick leave for non-exempt employees in the same manner as the regular rate of pay for the workweek in which an employee uses paid sick time, regardless of whether the employee works overtime during the week;
  • Employers may calculate paid sick leave for non-exempt employees by dividing the employee's total wages (not including overtime premium pay), by the total hours worked in the full pay periods of the employee's prior 90 days of employment; or
  • Employer may calculate paid sick leave for exempt employees in the same way that it calculates wages for other forms of paid leave time.

Despite the effort to clarify the law’s requirements, some of these amendments raise new legal issues, and other legal questions remain.  Employers should seek advice from their  employment law counsel, regarding their particular situations.

Issue 3 - 2015 Newsletter
Issue 1 - 2015 Newsletter

Our Locations

Simpson, Garrity, Innes & Jacuzzi, P.C.
601 Gateway Boulevard, Suite 950
South San Francisco, CA 94080
Map and Directions

Tel: 650-615-4860
Fax: 650-615-4861


2175 N. California Blvd, Suite 710
Walnut Creek, CA 94596
Map and Directions

Tel: 925-322-8889
Fax: 925-322-8890


LinkedIN


Geography