Are You in Compliance With the New California Sick Leave Law?
July 28, 2015
As of July 1st, a new employment law took effect that will apply to almost every employer in California. The Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act of 2014 provides the right to employees to accrue paid sick leave based on the amount of hours worked. Employees are eligible for paid time off accrual if they have worked for the same employer for at least 30 days on the past year, and you can qualify whether you work part-time, full-time, or even on a temporary basis. There are very few exceptions to the law, such as in-home support service providers, air carrier workers, and workers with certain collective bargaining agreements.
Since the new law affects so many employers throughout California, any company with at least one employee should make sure their policies and practices are in full compliance with all provisions of the law. Employees should also be familiar with the law and aware of their rights so that they may identify any possibLe violations of the law. The following are some examples of an employee's rights under the Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act:
To have posters in the workplace that clearly inform employees of their rights to paid sick leave.
To receive adequate notice of paid sick leave policies upon their hire
Accrue a minimum of one hour of paid time off after every 30 hours worked, provided you have worked for that same employer for at least 30 days in the past year.
Be able to use up to a minimum of three days or 24 hours of paid sick time each year if your requests to use that time off are reasonable.
Be informed of your remaining paid sick leave on a regular basis via pay statements or other regularly distributed documents.
Receive the same rate of pay for sick time used as you received for your work during the pay period during which you used the sick time.
To be free from retaliation or discrimination after rightfully using earned paid time off for sick leave.
These are only basic requirements of the new law. For employers who previously had paid sick time policies, they may be able to continue to use their old policy for accrual provided it meets the minimum requirements of the law and is a reasonable policy. If your employer did not previously allow you to accrue paid time off, it should have drastically changed its policies in recent weeks to make sure it was in compliance with the law.
California employment laws and employee rights within the state regularly change based on new or amended legislation and court decisions. For example, only a couple of weeks after the law became effective, Governor Jerry Brown has already signed an amendment to the law in order to clarify certain issues. For this reason, employees should always consult with an experienced employment law attorney who stays up to date on our state’s ever-changing laws.