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California Becomes Second State to Offer Paid Sick Leave

California has became only the second state (after Connecticut) to guarantee at least some annual paid sick leave for most full and part-time employees. The bill, entitled the “Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act,” (AB 1522, Gonzales, D-San Diego) passed with hefty majorities in the Assembly and Senate, and Governor Brown signed it on September 10.  

  • Effective Date: July 1, 2015
  • Requires public and private employers (no size exemption) to provide employees who work 30 or more days within a year after their hire date  with sick leave “at the rate of not less than one hour per every 30 hours worked.”
  • Employees would be entitled to use paid sick time for preventive care for themselves or a family member, as well as for the diagnosis, care, or treatment of their or their family member’s existing health condition. For purposes of this bill, “family member” means a (1) child, (2) parent, (3) spouse, (4) registered domestic partner, (5) grandparent or employee who is a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking.
  • Salaried, exempt employees are deemed to work a 40 hour workweek.
  • Exemptions provided for employees with certain collective bargaining agreements, some construction industry workers, home healthcare workers, and certain airline employees covered by the federal Railway Labor Act.
  • Requires employers to carry over unused sick leave from year to year; employer may limit employees’ total use of paid sick leave to 24 hours or three days per year No obligation to allow any accruals to exceed 48 hours or 6 days
  • Mandates that employers provide written notice of available sick leave on the itemized wage statement already required or in a separate notice each pay period.
  • Employer is not required to provide paid sick leave in addition to existing paid leave policies if existing policies provide at least the same benefits.
  • Employer notice will be required with posting to be developed by the Department of Industrial Relations.