Beware! The new California sick leave law goes into effect July 1!


Are you ready to comply with the new sick leave law? This law takes effect on July 1, 2015 and is mandatory for all employers in California. So, you need to get ready and begin to do your homework. Starting July 1, all employers are required to post in the workplace a poster with the following information: that the employees are entitle to accrue, request, and use paid sick days; the amount of sick days provided for and the terms of use of paid sick days; that retaliation or discrimination against an employee who requests paid sick days or uses paid sick days or both is prohibited; and that an employee has the right under this law to file a complaint with the Labor Commissioner against an employer who retaliates or discriminates against an employee. Did you provide the notice to your employees telling them about their paid sick leave?


Do you know who of your employees are entitled to this new sick leave law? Before any of your employees take any sick leave, your employees need to qualify for this benefit. This is accomplished by employees who have worked for at least 30 days within a year in California and by satisfying a 90 day employment period. Your employees will begin to accrue beginning on July 1, 2015 of if hired after that date on the first day of employment. How is this sick leave earned? Employees will earn at least one hour of paid leave for every 30 hours worked.  That is around eight days a year for workers who work full time. Your business can limit the amount of paid sick leave employees can take in one year to 24 hours.


Your employees can use their accrued and earned sick leave to take care of themselves or a family member.  A family member includes the employee’s parent, child, spouse, registered domestic partner, grandparent, grandchild, and sibling.  This leave can be used for preventive care or care of an existing health condition. Preventive care would include annual physicals or flu shots. This leave can be used for specified purposes; if your employee is a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking. For partial days, you can require your employee to take at least two hours of leave, but otherwise the determination of how much time is needed is left to the employee. If you already have a sick leave policy in your employee manual that offers more hours that the specified by this law, great!


You need to allow the employee to use the paid sick leave upon an oral or written request and the law forbids requiring an employee to find a replacement as a condition for using leave.  If the need is foreseeable the employee must give reasonable advance notice, but where the need is unforeseeable the employee need only give notice as soon as practicable.


Small business owner, remember that this law goes into effect on July 1, 2015 and that you need to be in compliance, no matter how big or small your company is. Pay attention to the details! Analyze how many of your employees would qualify for this benefit and check who has been working 30 hours or more and have been working for you for more than 90 days. You may want employees to request this sick leave in writing and, if possible, with enough time; so you can plan and make sure you have the coverage you need.  The sooner you implement this new law in your small business the fewer headaches you may get!


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