Many California workers rejoiced at the news that they would have to be provided with at least one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked as of July 1, 2015. While the Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act (HWHFA) provided much-needed assistance for sick employees, it created a few problems for employers—especially those who were already providing paid time off to its workers.
On July 13, 2015, Governor Brown signed a bill to amend the HWHFA in order to clarify some points for employers and workers. The amendments to California’s paid sick leave law took, which took effect immediately, and include the following provisions:
- Accrual rates. Workers can accrue sick leave at a rate other than one hour for every 30 as long as the accrual is ongoing and each employee has 24 hours of available sick leave by the 120th calendar day of employment.
- Previous policies. Employers can keep their existing paid sick leave and or paid time off policies as long as these policies existed prior to January 1, 2015 and the policy has the same provisions as HWHFA. This includes the provision that each employee must have accrued at least 8 hours of sick leave within 3 months of each year of employment, and was eligible to earn at least 24 hours of sick leave within 9 months of each year of employment.
- Pay rates. Employers can pay sick time at one of two rates: at the employee’s regular rate of pay, or by dividing the employee’s total wages (excluding overtime) by the employee’s total hours worked in his or her prior 90 days of employment.
- 30-day rule. Under the amendment, an employee must work for the same California employer for at least 30 days to qualify for paid sick leave.
- Reporting changes. Employers are still required to keep records documenting the hours worked and paid sick days accrued and used by an employees; however, employer are no longer obligated to inquire or record the purpose or circumstances of an employee’s sick leave.
- Film and radio employees. Employers in the broadcasting and motion picture industries who are governed by Wage Orders 11 and 12 are not subject to these amendments until January 21, 2016.