On July 1, 2015, California’s Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act goes into effect.  Here are the top 10 requirements that employers should know:

  1. Employees who work in the State of California 30 or more days within a year from the commencement of their employment will be entitled to three days of paid sick leave per year.
  2. Employees covered by certain collective bargaining agreements are excluded, as are flight crews and employees who provide in-home support services.
  3. The law does not exclude companies that have just one or two employees. Thus, all companies with California employees appear to be covered, regardless of the number of persons employed.
  4. Employees are entitled to paid sick leave not only for their own illnesses, but also to care for a child (including a biological, adopted, or foster child, or a stepchild), regardless of the age or dependency status of the child; a biological, adoptive, or foster parent, stepparent or legal guardian of either the employee or the employee’s spouse or registered domestic partner; a spouse or registered domestic partner; a grandparent; a grandchild; or a sibling.
  5. Starting July 1, 2015, employees will accrue paid sick days at the rate of not less than one hour per every 30 hours of work. Exempt employees are deemed to work 40 hours per week unless their normal workweek is different.
  6. Employees may use their accrued sick time starting on the 90th day of employment, although the employer may advance paid sick days for use by the employee before accrual. Such advances must be documented.
  7. Employers may set a reasonable minimum increment, not to exceed two hours, for the use of paid sick leave.
  8. Unused accrued paid sick days shall carry over to the following year, although (a) the employer may cap the employee’s use of paid sick days to 24 hours or three days in each year of employment; and (b) unlike vacation pay, unused accrued paid sick days are not wages due to the employee upon the separation of employment (except that if the employee is rehired within one year of separation, the previously accrued and unused paid sick days must be reinstated and available for use upon rehire).
  9. The amount paid to the employee is based on the employee’s hourly wage, but if the employee had different hourly rates in the previous 90 days of employment, was paid by commission or piece rate, or was a nonexempt salaried employee, then the rate of pay is calculated by dividing the employees’ total wages, excluding overtime, by the employee’s total hours worked in the full pay periods during the prior 90 days of employment.
  10. Notices and Recordkeeping:  Employers must provide employees with written notice of the amount of available paid sick leave on the employees’ itemized wage statements or provide a separate writing provided with the employees’ paychecks.  In addition, employers must include in their written notices provided to new employees at the time of hire a statement that the employee may accrue and use sick leave, has a right to request and use accrued paid sick leave, may not be terminated or retaliated against for using or requesting the use of accrued paid sick leave, and has the right to file a complaint against an employer who retaliates. Employers also must post information regarding the employees’ entitlement to paid sick leave and must retain records regarding paid sick days for at least three years.

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