On July 13, 2015, Governor Jerry Brown approved amendments to California's Healthy Workplace Act. Under the new law, AB 304 Sick Leave, employers must provide each employee paid sick leave up to 3 days per year of employment and 24 hours for each “day.” These days are accrued by the employee on a basis of one hour for each 30 hours worked. Employees can also only accrue paid sick leave days of up to 48 hours per year, but the employers can limit the employee’s sick leave use to 24 hours per year.
Under the law, employers or businesses will be required to show how many hours of paid sick leave workers have earned on their pay stubs. Employers can either choose to have workers accrue one hour of paid sick leave for every 24 hours worked, or give employees three days of paid sick leave upfront, to be used within a one-year period. For example, if an employee works full time with a shift that consist of 8 hour work days, every 3 workdays the employee will earn an hour of paid sick leave.
The definition of “sick leave” is also defined under the new law. Sick leave means that employees can use paid sick leave for any treatment of health related issues and conditions, preventive care for an employee, or even an employee’s family member.
Certain cities within California also give additional benefits to their employees regarding paid sick leave. For example, in San Francisco employees can accrue up to 72 hours of paid sick leave per year and there is no cap on how much an employee can use. This has led other cities to follow this trend and passing their own sick leave laws.
When the law was originally passed back in 2014, the rate of pay was to be calculated based upon an employee’s hourly rate. For employees who earn special hourly rates of pay, paid by commission, or are nonexempt salaried employees, the rate of pay was calculated based upon the wages paid, not including overtime premium pay, and the hours worked in the full pay periods that the employee worked during the prior 90-days.
California employees benefit from the new law because it does not impact their vacation time or the Paid Time Off that they have earned. In other words, the new law adds more time off in addition to any vacation or PTO already given. If you are an employee working in California, you should to review your employer’s sick leave and PTO policies to determine whether the new laws apply to you.
Authored by Kourosh Akhbari, LegalMatch Legal Writer