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Amendments to California's Paid Sick Leave Law

On July 13, 2015, Governor Jerry Brown signed Assembly Bill No. 304, which amended several aspects of California's paid sick leave law - the Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act of 2014.

The Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act of 2014 provides that an employee, who, on or after July 1, 2015, works in California for 30 or more days within a year from the commencement of employment is entitled to paid sick days for certain purposes, to be accrued at a rate of no less than one hour for every 30 hours worked.

AB 304 became effective immediately after it was authorized by Governor Brown on July 13, 2015. AB 304 amended the Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act of 2014 as follows:

•1. Requires an employee to work for the same employer for 30 or more days within one year from commencement of employment to qualify for accrued sick leave.

•2. Excludes retired annuitants of a public entity from the definition of an "employee." These individuals are exempt from the entitlements of California's paid sick leave law.

•3. Eliminates the requirement that an employee in the construction industry perform "on-site" work to qualify as an employee entitled to the benefits of California's paid sick leave law.

•4. Authorizes an employer to provide employee sick leave accrual on a basis other than one hour for each 30 hours worked, provided that the accrual is on a regular basis and the employee will have 24 hours (or three days) of accrued sick leave available: (1) by the 120th calendar day of employment; (2) within each calendar year; or (3) within a 12-month period.

•5. Permits employers to frontload the full amount of leave to employees each year of employment.

•6. Allows an employer who provides unlimited sick leave to its employees to satisfy notice requirements by indicating "unlimited" sick leave on the employee's itemized wage statement.

•7. Requires an employer to calculate paid sick leave for non-exempt employees based on one of the following methods: (1) an employee's regular rate of pay for the workweek in which the employee uses paid sick time; (2) total wages, excluding overtime premium pay, divided by total hours worked in the full pay periods of the prior 90 days of employment. For exempt employees, paid sick time shall be calculated in the same manner as the employer calculates wages for other forms of paid leave.

•8. An employer is not required to reinstate accrued paid time off to an employee who is rehired within one year of separation from employment, if that employee was paid out for accrued unused paid sick leave at the time of termination, resignation, or separation.

•9. An employer is not required to provide additional paid sick leave if: (1) it has a paid leave policy that makes available an amount of leave applicable to employees for specific uses, and the policy satisfies accrual, carry over, and use requirements of California's paid sick leave law; or (2) if the employer provided paid sick leave to employees before January 1, 2015, that provides accrual of at least one day or eight hours of paid sick leave within three months of employment each year and the employee was eligible to earn at least three days or 24 hours of paid sick leave within nine months of employment.

•10. An employer has no obligation to inquire into or record the purposes for which an employee uses sick leave or paid time off.

For additional information regarding California's paid sick leave law, see our blog dated June 22, 2015. http://www.sagaserlaw.com/blog/2015/06/paid-sick-leave-clean-up-language-bill-pending-in-california-legislature-ab-304.shtml

Please contact our office at 559-421-7000 if you have any questions regarding Paid Sick Leave.

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