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Paid Sick Leave Clean Up Language Bill Pending in California Legislature (AB-304)

In an effort to address repeated questions and confusion relating to the Healthy Workplace Healthy Family Act of 2014 (Paid Sick Leave Law), the bill's author, Assembly Member Lorena Gonzales of San Diego, has introduced AB 304 to clarify a number of uncertainties that were not addressed in the 2014 law.

AB 304 proposes the following clarifications:

(1) Clarifies that an employee must work in California for the same employer for 30 or more days within a year to be eligible for paid sick leave (Labor Code 246(a);

(2) Currently the Paid Sick Leave law requires an employer using the accrual method to provide a minimum of one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked. AB 304 would authorize other methods of accrual provided that the accrual occurs regularly and the employee will have at least 24 hours of accrued sick leave available by the 120th calendar day of employment (Labor Code 246(e);

(3) Excludes a retired annuitant of a public entity and a worker covered by the Federal Railroad Unemployment Insurance Act from the definition of employee (Labor Code 245.5(a));

(4) Permits an employer who provides unlimited sick leave to its employees to satisfy notice requirements by indicating "unlimited" on the employee's itemized wage statement (Labor Code 246(h));

(5) Provides that if the employee receives a different hourly rate when the accrued sick leave is taken, the rate of pay would be calculated in the same manner as the regular rate of pay for purposes of overtime(Labor Code 246(k));

(6) Provides that an employer is not required to reinstate accrued paid time off to an employee, rehired within one year of separation from employment, that was paid out at the time of termination, resignation, or separation(Labor Code 246(f));

(7) No Private Right of Action: AB 304 would remove the term "any person" regarding the Act's enforcement provisions, presumably to clarify that no private right of action exists (Labor Code 248.5(e); and

(8) Provides that an employer is not obligated to inquire into or record the purposes for which an employee uses paid leave or paid time off.

AB 304 has not yet passed the Assembly. The bill's author has also introduced new legislation (AB 11) to require providers of "in-home supportive services" (as defined in the Welfare and Institutions Code) to qualify for paid sick leave. Such providers are currently exempt.

Sagaser, Watkins & Wieland PC will continue to monitor these bills and other employment legislation. Please contact our office at 559-421-7000 if you have any questions regarding Paid Sick Leave.

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