In what is potentially the biggest change to California’s employment laws, beginning July 1, 2015, all California employers will be required to provide paid sick leave to all employees who have completed 90 days of work.  With enactment of the “Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act of 2014,” California joins Connecticut as the only two states to require paid sick leave for employees.

Paid sick leave laws have been very controversial in practice and, in fact, ten states ban employers from offering paid sick leave.  Generally speaking, opponents of paid sick leave argue that the laws encourage employees to call in sick, even when they are not sick and that it leads to a decrease in hiring and wages. In Connecticut, for example, about 20 percent of employers who responded to a survey indicated that they had reduced other employee benefits to balance the cost of the paid sick leave and others had reduced wages, raised prices, or laid off employees.  In the City of San Francisco (which has a paid sick leave ordinance), similar findings were found.

Regardless, as of July 1, 2015, paid sick leave will be the law in California.  Here are basic answers to the most frequently asked questions about the law.

What Employees Will Be Entitled To Paid Sick Leave?

The Act applies requires employers to provide paid sick leave to any employee who: (1) has worked in California for 30 or more days in a year; and (2) has completed 90 days of employment with that employer.  If employees are covered by a collective bargaining agreement that meets certain minimal requirements, the CBA will govern instead of the Act.

What Employers Will Be Required To Provide Paid Sick Leave?

All employers in California are covered by the Act.  That includes employers with one employee and not-for-profit employers.

How Much Paid Sick Leave Will Employers Be Required To Provide?

Employees will accrue paid sick leave at a rate of one hour per every 30 hours worked.  Employees who are exempt from the overtime requirements of California law are deemed to work 40 hours in a week, barring any evidence to the contrary.

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