Question:

Question:  I’ve just started learning about the new sick leave law in California and I am very confused.  I’ve read it is effective January 1, 2015, but I’ve also read the effective date is July 1, 2015.  How can I get more information about what is required?

Answer:

Answer:  The new paid sick leave law is very complex. The Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE) recently issued a series of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) and responses to assist employers. The FAQs are available at http://www.dir.ca.gov/dlse/ under the “What’s New” section.
The first area of confusion concerns the effective date of this law.  This law takes effect January 1, 2015, but the right to accrue and take sick leave under this law does not take effect until July 1, 2015.  Employers must do the following as of January 1, 2015:

  • Post a poster containing information about the accrual and use of paid sick days, and employees’ rights to be free from retaliation or discrimination for using paid sick days.
  • Provide employees with an individualized Notice to Employee that includes paid sick leave information.  A revised Notice to Employee form must be used for employees hired after January 1, 2015.  For employees hired prior to January 1, 2015, the employer is required to provide a revised Notice to Employee or otherwise inform each employee of the information regarding paid sick leave within 7 days of a change in the employer’s sick leave policy. As a practical matter, employers will have to issue the revised Notice to Employee to all employees by July 7, 2015 to inform employees of the changes necessitated by this new law. The poster and new Notice to Employee are available at http://www.dir.ca.gov/dlse/.
  • Determine which employees are eligible for paid sick leave. Both hourly and salaried employees who have worked for any employer in California for at least 30 days within a year beginning on or after January 1, 2015 are eligible for paid sick leave. This includes part-time, per diem, and temporary employees. Employees covered by a valid collective bargaining agreement that provides for paid sick days, paid leave, or paid time off; certain employees in the construction industry covered by a valid collective bargaining agreement; providers of government sponsored in-home supportive services; and certain air carrier employees are not eligible for paid sick leave.

Starting July 1, 2015 employers must provide paid sick leave to employees.  Employers can either choose (1) the lump sum method and provide all employees 24 hours or 3 days of paid sick leave that is available for the employees’ immediate use on July 1, 2015 and then on each subsequent January 1, or (2) the accrual method and allow employees to earn one hour of paid leave for every 30 hours worked.  Under the accrual method, employers can limit the amount of paid leave that the employee can take in one year to 24 hours or 3 days, and can cap the accrued paid sick leave at 48 hours or 6 days. Sick leave under this new law can be used for the care of the employee, the employee’s child, parent, spouse, registered domestic partner, grandparent, grandchild, sibling, or for use by a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking.  There are many other requirements imposed by this new law, including record keeping and paystub requirements.