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New California Sick Leave Rules apply July 1, 2015

Effective July 1, 2015, employers in California will need to carefully review their sick leave or paid time off policies and practices, as well as revise payroll and wage statement practices regarding such time off.

Specific requirements under the Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act of 2014 (HWHFA) include:

  • Signage. Displaying a poster addressing employees’ rights for mandatory sick time pay; poster should be in a prominent location where employees can easily access and read the notice.
  • Notice. Providing a written notice to newly hired employees of paid sick leave rights at the time of hire.
  • Accrual for full- and part-time as well as temporary employees. All employees must earn at least one hour of paid leave for every 30 hours worked. Alternatively, employers may provide at least 24 hours or three (3) days at the beginning of a 12-month period of paid sick leave for each eligible employee to use per year (calendar year or other designated 12-month basis). Accrual begins on the first day of employment or July 1, 2015, whichever is later.
    • Allowing eligible employees to use accrued paid sick leave upon reasonable request beginning on or after the 90th day of employment. An employer may limit an employee’s use of paid sick days to 24 hours or three (3) days in each year of employment.

Note: However, employers are prohibited from discriminating or retaliating against an employee who requests paid sick days.

  • Paystub modification. Providing written notice to employees every payday of the amount of sick time the employee has accrued and has available for use; this may be on a pay stub or a document issued the same day as a paycheck.
  • Recordkeeping. Maintaining employment records going back three years showing hours worked, paid sick time accrued and paid sick time used. 

The new law will be enforced by the California Labor Commissioner and includes fines and penalties. 

Additional information and resources are available on California’s website under the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement at http://www.dir.ca.gov/dlse/ab1522.html.