California Adopts Paid Sick Leave Law

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

On August 30, 2014, California Governor Jerry Brown signed into law the “Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act of 2014,” which requires employers to provide paid sick leave. The law provides that an employee who works for 30 or more days within a year from the time that employment has begun is entitled to paid sick days.  The sick days are accrued at a rate of no less than one hour for every 30 hours worked.  An employee would be entitled to use sick leave on the 90th day of employment.  The employer may limit an employee's use of the sick leave to 24 hours or 3 days in each year of employment.  The employer may cap the accrual to 48 hours or six days per year.  The employer is prohibited from discriminating or retaliating against an employee who asks for paid sick days.  This law becomes effective July 1, 2015.

The employee may use these sick days to care for him/herself, a family member, or registered domestic partner.  The law specifically states that victims of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking are covered.  Employees must notify the employer either in writing or orally of any requests for such leave.  The employee does not need to find a replacement worker.  

Any unused sick days may be carried over to the following year, but the employer does not need to pay them out upon termination.  If the employee is reinstated in less than a year, then their accrued sick days must be restored.  

Employers must include information about the accrual of paid sick days on wage statement or separate statements that are included with the paycheck.  The employer must also display a poster with stated paid sick leave rights.  The employer must keep records of hours worked and sick leave accrual for a period of three years.  

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