California Enacts Paid Sick Leave and Paid Time Off Legislation

On September 10, 2014, California Governor Jerry Brown signed into law the Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act of 2014 (AB 1522), requiring California employers to provide paid sick leave to their employees. The Act goes into effect on July 1, 2015, and, with a few exceptions, covers employees who work at least 30 days within a year of commencing their employment.

Under the Act, employees will accrue paid sick leave at a rate of at least one hour for every 30 hours worked. Employees may use accrued paid sick days for personal illness, a family member’s health condition, or leave related to domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking. An employee’s accrued sick days carry over to the following year of employment, but an employer may limit an employee’s use of paid sick days to 24 hours or three days per calendar year. Employers are not required to pay out unused accrued sick leave upon an employee’s termination.

Employers that already have a paid sick leave or paid time off policy are not required to provide additional days of paid sick leave under the Act, but employers should ensure that the leave provided under their current policies provides at least as much paid sick leave as provided for under the Act. Employers should also ensure that the leave provided for under their current policies may be used for the same reasons and under the same conditions as provided for under the Act (for example, an employer’s leave policy must permit the employee to take time off for a family member’s health condition).

California employers should take time between now and next July to ensure that their paid sick leave or paid time off policy complies with this new requirement.