New Mandatory Paid Sick Leave - Clark & Trevithick | Full Service Boutique Law Firm in Los Angeles, California | Southern California
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New Mandatory Paid Sick Leave

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Commencing July 1, 2015, employers, regardless of the number of persons employed, must provide paid sick leave to its California employees.  The following is a summary of the law:


Eligible Employees: All full-time, part-time and temporary employees are eligible. An employee qualifies for paid sick leave by (i) working for at least 30 days within a  year in California and (ii) being employed for 90 days. However, an employee accrues sick leave time during that 90-day period.


Accrual of Sick Leave: An employee accrues one hour of sick leave for every 30 hours worked. Accrued and unused sick leave must be carried over to the following year. Also, an employer can cap the accrual of sick leave at six days or 48 hours.  Alternatively, if an employer “front loads” sick leave by providing no less than three days (24 hours) at the beginning of each employee’s sick leave year instead of having sick leave accrue based on hours worked, unused sick leave is not carried over to the next year.


New hires must still meet the 90-day employment requirement prior to taking any paid sick leave.


Employers who currently have an existing policy that provides at least three days or 24 hours of paid sick leave in a 12 month period may already be deemed to satisfy the new sick leave law.  Such employers should consult with employment counsel to determine whether their existing sick leave policy is permissible.


Employee Use of Paid Sick Leave: Employees can take paid leave for themselves or a family member for preventive care or care of an existing health condition or for specific purposes if the employee is a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking. Family members include the employee’s parent, child, spouse, registered domestic partner, grandparent, grandchild and sibling.


An employer is prohibited from requiring an employee to find a replacement as a condition for using sick leave.


Timing and Amount of Paid Sick Leave: Sick leave taken by an employee must be paid no later than the payday for the next regular payroll period after the sick leave was taken. Sick leave is paid at the employee’s regular rate of pay. If the employee has varied hourly rates, or is paid commissions, piece rates or salary, sick time is paid at a rate determined by dividing the employee’s total wages over the past 90 days (excluding overtime pay) by the total hours worked over those 90 days.  Exempt employees are deemed to work 40 hours per week, unless the employee normally works a workweek of less than 40 hours.


Sick leave does not have to be used in full day increments. An employer may set a reasonable minimum increment, not to exceed 2 hours, for the use of sick leave.


Unlike vacation pay, employers are not required to pay terminated employees for accrued and unused sick leave.  However, if an employee is rehired within a year, past accrued sick time must be reinstated.


Exceptions to Mandatory Paid Sick Leave:  The paid sick leave law does not apply to (a) providers of publically funded In Home Support Services (IHSS), (b) employees covered by collective bargaining agreements containing certain provisions regarding wage and hour issues, or (c) employees of an air carrier as a flight deck or cabin crew member so long as they receive compensated time off at least equivalent to the requirements of the new sick leave law.