How Do I Implement The Paid Sick Leave?

The Healthy Workplace/ Healthy Family Act of 2014 (AB 1522) otherwise better known as the Paid Sick Leave will become effective July 1, 2015.  The Paid Sick Leave provides that paid leave may be taken to care for an illness affecting an employee or an employee’s “family member” (including domestic spouse, grand children, siblings, etc), or where the employee is the victim of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking.

In general, California employers, regardless of business size, must provide to all employees (part-time or full-time, permanent or temporary/on-call) paid sick leave.  To implement the paid sick leave policy, employers may choose one of two methods: the accrual & carry over method or the non-carry over method.  To avoid potential mistakes in tracking accrual and usage, most employers will find the non-carry over method much simpler.

1.      Accrual & Carry over: Employees who have worked thirty (30) days are eligible to accrue sick leave. Paid sick leave is accrued at the rate of one (1) hour per every thirty (30) hours worked. Employees may accrue up to 24 hours (3 days) per year of paid sick leave.  Employees may carry over any unused sick leave to the following year, up to 48 hours (6 days)

2.      Non-Carry over:  Employees will receive three (3) days of Paid Sick Leave per year, to be immediately accrued upon hiring and thereafter on the anniversary of each year of employment.  Employees may not carry over any unused sick days.

Terms of Use:  Employees may begin to use sick leave beginning on the 90th day of employment (three months into the employment). Employees may use up to 24 hours (3 days) per year.  Employee must provide reasonable advance notification, oral or written, prior to the use of sick leave.  No medical certificate is required to apply for the leave.

All pay of the sick leave is paid on the employee’s regular hourly wage.  For exempt employees, the rate of sick leave is calculated by taking the average of the wage and the number of hours worked in the past 90 days of employment.

Unused Leave and Return to Work:  If an employee is terminated with unused leave, any unused leave will not be paid.  If an employee is re-hired within one (1) year after his or her prior termination, all unused sick leave shall be reinstated.  The employee cannot be fired due to taking the leave.

Tip for California employers: If you already have a vacation/sick policy, you should separately track the three day paid sick leave to be in compliance. For example, if you offer a 10-day combined vacation/sick policy, revise your handbook to state that you now have a 7-day vacation policy and a 3-day paid sick leave policy. Voila!

California employers must display this poster where employees can easily read it here.

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