California passed the Health Workplace Healthy Family Act of 2014 that will go into effect July 1, 2015. There are a select group of employees excluded from this requirement that fall under collective bargaining agreements subject to certain conditions. Exclusions include the construction industry, providers of in-home support services and certain individuals employed by air carriers as flight deck or cabin crew members.
While employers are required to offer paid sick leave to its employees, any company with a plan that provides equal or greater plans, may continue with their existing plans.
The new law requires employees accrue 1 hour of paid sick time for every 30 hours worked, up to a maximum of 48 hours paid time annually. These employees must be able to use at least 3 days in a given year and may carryover up to a maximum of 48 hours. Employees are allowed to begin using the accrued leave after their 90th day of employment. According to the Act, an employee may request leave verbally or in writing but cannot be retaliated or discriminated against for requesting. Employees may take leave for their own or a family member’s diagnosis, care or treatment of existing conditions or preventative care. They may also request leave for the specified purpose if they have become a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking.
Employers will be required to provide a written notice to employees explaining the amount of Paid Sick Leave (PSL) available to use. The PSL is required to be printed on the employee’s pay statement or a separate notice along that is given out along with the employee’s pay statement. Employers must also post a notice in conspicuous places giving details as outlined on the sample notice provided on California’s website in the section related to Paid Sick Leave
Paid Sick Leave records are to be retained for three years documenting the hours worked, the accrual and employee time used. These records should be made available to the employee and may be reviewed by the Labor Commission. Employers found in violation are subject to a penalty of $250 or the dollar amount equivalent to the paid sick days withheld from the employee times 3, whichever is greater, but will not exceed $4,000. Additional penalties due to violations may also apply.
Does your company offer a Paid Sick Leave plan that is equal to or more beneficial for the employee than the California new requirements? It’s time to start preparing new systems and procedures to be in place by July 1, 2015.