Gov. Brown signed AB 1522 enacting the “Health Workplaces, Healthy Families” law. This law makes paid sick leave mandatory for all public and private employers in California, regardless of the number of employees.

All of your employees—full-time, part-time and temporary—will be eligible for paid sick leave under the new law. A few types of employees, including those covered by collective bargaining agreements, are not covered by the law. To be eligible, an employee must work 30 days a year. Sick leave is accrued at the rate of one hour for every 30 hours worked by non-exempt workers; exempt employees are deemed to work 40 hours per week. Employees can use accrued sick leave for his or her own illness, or for the health condition of a qualifying member, and a few other reasons.

Employers may limit accrual to a total of 48 hours of sick leave, and can limit an employee’s use to 24 hours in any 12-month period. Sick leave is paid at the employee’s base hourly rate and, unlike accrued vacation, unused sick leave doesn’t have to be paid out upon termination of employment.

There are other new rules imposed by AB 1522, so make sure you are familiar with all of its requirements. The new law goes into effect July 1, 2015, so employers have plenty of time to revise policies and update handbooks to incorporate new sick leave rules.

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Robert W. Hunt

Hunt Jeppson & Griffin, LLP