California: New Legislation Amends the Statewide Paid Sick Leave Law

There's been changes made to the new statewide paid sick law. As you know, effective July 1, 2015, California's new mandatory paid sick leave law requires virtually all employers to provide workers a minimum of three days of paid sick leave each year. After the rollout of the new law, just two weeks later on July 13, 2015, in an attempt to treat some critical areas of concern and clarify others, amendments were approved. In the amendments you will find clarification regarding which workers are covered, how the paid time off is accrued/calculated, and protections for employers that already provide paid sick leave. Key highlights of the changes are presented below that you may find useful:

Amendments Effective as of July 13, 2015

Covered Workers

  • The amendments clarify that the law applies to an employee who works in California for the same employer for 30 or more days within a year.

Accrual of Leave

  • The amendments provide that an employer may use a different accrual method (other than providing one hour per every 30 hours worked) provided that the accrual is on a regular basis so that an employee has at least 24 hours of accrued sick leave or paid time off by the 120th calendar day of employment or each calendar year (or in each 12-month period).

  • An employer may satisfy the accrual requirements by providing at least 24 hours (or 3 days) of paid sick leave that is available to the employee to use by the completion of his or her 120th calendar day of employment.

Calculation of Leave

  • Under the amendments, an employer must calculate paid sick leave using any of the following calculations:

  • Paid sick time for nonexempt employees must be calculated:

  • In the same manner as the regular rate of pay for the workweek in which the employee uses paid sick time (whether or not the employee actually works overtime in that workweek); or

  • By dividing the employee’s total wages—not including overtime premium pay—by the employee’s total hours worked in the full pay periods of the prior 90 days of employment.

  • Paid sick time for exempt employees must be calculated in the same manner as the employer calculates wages for other forms of paid leave time.

Employers' Existing Paid Time Off (PTO) or Sick Leave Policies

  • An employer is not required to provide additional paid sick days if it has a paid leave policy or PTO policy and makes available an amount of leave that may be used for the same purposes and under the same conditions as specified in the law, and the policy satisfies one of the following options:

  • Satisfies the accrual, carry over, and use requirements of the law; or

  • Provided paid sick leave or PTO to a class of employees before January 1, 2015, under a sick leave policy or PTO policy that used a different accrual method (than providing one hour per every 30 hours worked), provided that the accrual is on a regular basis so that an employee (including an employee hired into that class after January 1, 2015) has at least one day (or 8 hours) of accrued sick leave or PTO within 3 months of employment of each calendar year (or each 12-month period), and was eligible to earn at least 3 days (or 24 hours) within 9 months of employment.

  • Note: If an employer modifies the accrual method used in the policy it had in place before January 1, 2015, the employer must comply with any accrual method set forth in the law or provide the full amount of leave (3 days or 24 hours) at the beginning of the year. The law does not prohibit the employer from increasing the accrual amount or rate.

Affected employers may review the text of the amendments for additional changes. A Bill Analysis is also available.

Let all your employees know about the new paid sick leave law and stay in compliance by displaying this poster where employees can easily read it.