Amendments to Paid Sick Leave Signed into Law

The Health Workplace Healthy Families Act was amended on July 13, 2015.  The HWHFA took effect on July 1, 2015 and provided paid sick leave to California employees.  These amendments were passed as an emergency measure and take effect immediately.  

Generally, per the HWHFA, full- and part-time employees who on or after July 1, 2015 have worked for 30 or more days within a year from the commencement of employment are entitled to paid sick days.  Please see our previous Legal Alert for more information about the provisions of the HWHFA.

The new revisions change the following aspects of the HWHFA:

1.  Retired annuitants are no longer considered "employees" under the HWFWA.

2.  The HWFWA contains a requirement that an employee work for 30 or more days within California.  This amendment changed that requirement to a requirement that an employee work for 30 or more days in California for the same employer to be entitled to health benefits. 

3.  This amendment clarified that accrual of paid sick leave did not have to be at a rate of one hour of sick leave for every 30 hours worked as long as the accrual method used is one on a regular basis so that an employee accrues no less than 24 hours of accrued sick leave by the 120th calendar day of employment in each calendar year, or in some other fixed 12-month period.  In addition, this amendment provides that if an employer had an existing paid sick leave policy as of January 1, 2015 that used an accrual method different than one hour sick leave for every 30 hours worked, that policy need not be changed so long as the accrual method used in that policy provided for accrual of paid sick leave on a regular basis at a rate of no less than one day or eight hours of paid leave within three months of employment in each calendar year or other 12-month period  and three days or 24 hours of leave within nine months of employment in each calendar year or other 12-month period.

4.  Per the amendment, the cap on use of paid sick leave – 24 hours or three days – can be applied for each year of the employee's employment, calendar year, or some other 12-month period of time, e.g., fiscal year.

5.  This amendment further clarified the amount of compensation an exempt employee receives for paid sick leave must be calculated in the same manner as the employer calculates wages for other forms of paid leave time.  For non-exempt employees, compensation for paid sick time is still calculated by dividing the employee's total wages, not including overtime pay, by the employee’s total hours worked in the full pay periods of the prior 90 days of employment.

6.  If accrued paid sick leave is paid out at time of termination (which still is not required), an employer does not have to reinstate the paid sick leave if the employee is rehired within one year.

Questions

If you have any questions concerning this Legal Alert, please contact the following from our office, or the attorney with whom you normally consult:

Meredith Garey | 916.321.4500