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Now is a Great Time to Revisit the Requirements of California’s Paid Sick Leave!

While many of us are focused on Arizona’s paid sick leave requirements it is important to not forget about California’s paid sick leave (PSL) requirements if your organization has employees in California. California’s PSL requirements were enacted by the Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act and became effective on July 1, 2015. Through amendments to the Act, PSL will become effective for certain in-home supportive services on July 1, 2018.

All employers in California are covered by the Act. All employees that work for 30 days in California in a year are eligible for PSL. This includes any Arizona employees that travel to California to work for your organization! There are certain exclusions for employees that are covered by a collective bargaining agreement or work for airlines.

The reasons that an employee can use PSL are similar between Arizona and California except that California does not require it in cases of public health emergencies. In California, as in Arizona, you can have employees wait to use PSL for 90 days after their start of employment. Just like in Arizona, in California employees begin to accrue PSL from their first day of employment. Employers can front-load the annual amount of PSL or have it accrue over time. While there are different options if the employer had a policy in place at the time the Act was enacted, the general options are either to front-load 24 hours or 3 days, whichever is greater, or have the employee accrue one hour for every 30 hours worked up to an overall accrual cap of 48 hours or 6 days, whichever is greater. If employers front-load the PSL then it does not have to be carried over to the next year. If an accrual method is used then PSL must be carried over to the next year subject to the overall accrual cap.

Employers can limit usage of PSL to 24 hours or 3 days, whichever is greater, in each 12 month period. Employers cannot require employees to use PSL in greater than 2 hour increments. If the need for PSL is foreseeable, employees are required to provide reasonable notice. If need for PSL is unforeseeable, employees are required to provide notice as soon as practicable. Employers cannot require documentation for the use of PSL. This is different then what is permitted in Arizona!

When an employee is either discharged or quits, an employer is not required to pay out unused PSL. However, if the employee is rehired within one year from separation then their unused PSL must be reinstated and they can use it immediately. In addition, they begin accruing PSL immediately.

As with many employment laws, employers have certain notice requirements. They are required to post the poster issued by the Labor Commissioner here. In addition, PSL must be included on an employee’s wage statements or in a separate document at the same time. Finally, employers must provide information about PSL in the Notice to Employees required for non-exempt employees by Labor Code Section 2810.5, which can be found here.

Employers do have certain recordkeeping requirements and must keep certain records for 3 years. As with Arizona’s PSL, there are anti-retaliation provisions in the Act. Thus, it is important to train managers about the requirements of the law and your organization’s policy.

It is important for employers to have a policy that is compliant with California’s Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act. You may be thinking how do I make it compliant with both California’s and Arizona’s laws. It is possible to have one policy it just takes a little doing. You will need to pick the elements out of each law that are the most beneficial to employees and use that as your base. You will also need to make sure you are including the reasons for use of PSL that are outlined in both laws. So, you will need up with a policy that is more generous than the law for certain employees.

Many municipalities in California have their own PSL requirements. These are not preempted by the state’s PSL. Employers must comply with both. So, please check every city where you have employees working to make sure you are in compliance with any local ordinances.

HR Law Works can assist with drafting a policy that is compliant with both Arizona’s and California’s laws.

As we dream or have nightmares about California’s PSL requirements, we need a little serenity. The above picture was taken along 16-mile drive in Pebble Beach in July 2014.