California’s New Sick Leave Law – Main Provisions

This month, California’s new sick leave law goes into effect requiring almost all employers with at least 1 employee to provide their employees at least three paid sick days.  There are 2 alternatives to providing sick leave to employees.

Under the accrual method, an employee will earn 1 hour of sick leave for every 30 hours worked.  An exempt employee accrues sick days based on the lesser of their normal work schedule or a 40 hour work week.  However, employers can limit the days an employee can use to 3 days per year.  The earned but unused days will be banked, however employers can limit the further accrual of sick hours when the employee has reached 48 hours (6 days).

Under the lump sum method, an employer can give the employee at least 3 sick days at the beginning of each year.  Under this option there is no accrual or carrying over of unused days to the next year.  If an employee leaves, the employer does not have to pay the unused sick leave.  But if the employee is rehired within 12 months, the employee will reclaim what was in the bank.

If the employer provides a combined “Paid Time Off”, this will meet the law because the employees will have at least 3 days per year which they can used for sick days or health care.  An employer must provide written notice to an employee of the amount of paid sick leave available, or paid time off leave that an employer provides in lieu of sick leave.  Also, an employer must display a poster in a “conspicuous place” containing information about the accrual and use of sick days.

Anyone who works more than 30 days per year is covered with a few exemptions:

Employees of In-Home Supportive Services (Public Sector program)

Employees covered by a collective bargaining agreement

Employees of an air carrier as a flight deck or cabin crew member, if they receive compensated time off

Employers in San Francisco, must make sure their sick leave plans satisfy both the San Francisco and California sick leave ordinances.

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