A bill revising California’s paid sick leave law has been signed by Governor Brown and takes effect immediately. The new law (AB 304) has not changed from the Assembly version that we wrote about on June 25. The important modifications to the prior sick leave pay rules include:
- Specifying that the law applies to an employee who works in California for the same employer for at least 30 days in a year;
- Allowing employers to “front-load” the sick time by providing at least 24 hours or three days (whichever is greater) of sick leave to employees by the completion of their 120th calendar day of employment;
- Making it easier for employers with existing paid time off (PTO) programs to comply with the new sick time requirements;
- Allowing employers to use accrual methods different from the “one hour per thirty hours worked” method, provided the accrual method meets certain requirements;
- Giving employers the option to pay sick time at the regular rate of pay for the workweek in which the employee uses the sick time, instead of having to calculate it based on a 90-day look-back. This is particularly important to hospitals and other employers who pay evening or weekend shift differentials or otherwise pay non-exempt employees at different rates.
- Clarifying that employers who have “unlimited” PTO or sick leave plans, can simply report “unlimited” on employees’ paystubs; and
- Delaying the paystub reporting requirements until January 21, 2016 for employers in the broadcasting and motion picture industries.
Because of the importance of the changes, the bill contained an “urgency clause” which made it effective immediately upon the governor’s signature. If you have not already done so, we encourage you to contact your employment counsel for further information or assistance revising your paid sick leave policies and procedures.