Bulletin: California Enacts New Paid Sick Leave Law
California Enacts new Paid Sick Leave Law
Effective July 1, 2015, employers with employees working in California will be required to provide paid sick leave. California becomes the second state—behind Connecticut—to enact such a law, along with 11 municipalities. The California law applies to all employers, both public and private, regardless of size and any employees who work at least 30 days in a calendar year are eligible.
Sick leave begins to accrue on July 1, or the date the employee begins work, whichever is later. Employees accrue one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked, so a full-time employee can earn 8 paid sick days per year. However, employers may cap sick leave accrual at 6 days per year and may also limit employees to using only 3 sick days per year, with the remainder carrying over. Additionally, there is no pay out provision upon employee separation from the employer.
Employers must provide written notice of sick leave information to employees as part of the California Wage Theft Notice process. The Labor Commissioner’s office will provide a revised template containing the sick leave information prior to the law taking effect. The remaining provisions of the wage theft process will continue to be in effect.
In addition to the wage theft notification, the employer must also provide each employee a running tally of all sick leave hours they are eligible for. This statement may be distributed as part of the employee paystub, or in a separate document, but must be presented to the employee at the regular paydate.
Penalties for non-compliance with this new law are substantial. The Labor Commissioner has authority to enforce the Act through administrative proceedings. The Labor Commissioner and the Attorney General may also file a civil action seeking a variety of solutions, including reinstatement, backpay, payment of sick days unlawfully withheld, and administrative penalties not to exceed $4,000 per employee. Liquidated damages, equitable or injunctive relief, restitution, reasonable attorney’s fees, costs, and interest are also available under the law.
Employers should review their current sick leave policies to ensure compliance with California law and make changes as necessary. A review of paystubs or other delivery mechanisms should be included in order to accommodate the accrued leave tabulation. While California and Connecticut are the only states with standing sick leave laws, it is important to note that New Jersey legislators have promised to introduce a bill on this topic shortly, and that the issue will be put to Massachusetts voters in November.
Employers should continuously monitor the compliance landscape to keep abreast of changes in state notification requirements that might affect them. Equifax Workforce Solutions can help simplify compliance with the various state and local notifications through an easily-managed portal that helps ensure compliance with new regulatory guidelines. To learn more about how Equifax Workforce Solutions can help you stay abreast of all state and federal notice requirements, please contact us.
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