Just three years after the enactment of California’s paid sick leave law under the Healthy Workplace Healthy Family Act of 2014 (AB 1522), a new bill has been introduced seeking to increase the amount of sick leave employers must provide employees under California law. The bill, AB 2841, was introduced on February 16, 2018, by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher. Assemblywoman Gonzalez Fletcher authored California’s existing paid sick leave law.
The bill comes in the wake of an aggressive flu season and the enactment of several local sick leave ordinances throughout California. Since California’s paid sick leave law went into effect, several cities enacted sick leave ordinances with varying requirements, including Los Angeles, Santa Monica, San Diego, Oakland, Emeryville and Berkeley. San Francisco already had a paid sick leave ordinance in effect.
Under this bill, employees may use up to 5 days or 40 hours of paid sick leave per year (up from 3 days or 24 hours under current law). To the extent employers frontload or grant paid sick leave upfront each year, the bill increases the requisite amount from 3 days or 24 hours to no less than 5 days or 40 hours in a year. Additionally, for employers which accrue paid sick leave, the maximum accrual cap would increase from 6 days (or 48 hours) to 10 days (or 80 hours). The amendments would bring state law entitlements closer to the entitlements under local ordinances and more similar to San Diego’s sick leave ordinance, which happens to be where Assemblywoman Gonzalez Fletcher’s district sits.
If enacted into law, the proposed amendments would increase state sick leave entitlements and further complicate the interplay between state law and the various local ordinances. Employers must follow the standard that confers the greatest benefit to the employee.