California employers: Are you ready for the new paid sick leave law?

sick-leave-law

July is just around the corner, and for California employers, that means you have another compliance requirement on your “to-do” list.

Beginning July 1, 2015, California employers will be required to provide paid sick leave to all employees (with a few exceptions), including part-time and temporary workers under the Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act of 2014.

Who is affected?
The new law applies to virtually all employers and most employees. There are exceptions for employees who provide in-home supportive services, certain air carrier employees, and employees covered by a collective bargaining agreement that provides for paid sick days.

How much sick leave are you required to provide?
Employers are required to guarantee at least three paid sick days every year. Employees will accrue at least one hour for every 30 hours worked, and they can start using the sick leave on their 90th day of employment. For example, an employee hired on September 1, 2015, would start earning sick leave on September 30, 2015, and could start using it 90 days from their first day of employment. Generally, employers will have to allow accrued paid sick leave to roll over to the following year, but can limit the use of paid sick leave to 24 hours – or three days – in each year of employment.

Will you have to modify your current leave policy?
Employers that already provide paid sick leave won’t have to provide additional paid sick days as long as their current policy satisfies the law’s accrual, carryover, and use requirements, or provides at least 24 hours (three days) of paid sick leave for every year of employment.

Notice and reporting requirements
Employers will need to provide written notice to new employees specifying how their paid sick leave accrues and their right to use it, and informing them of their rights to file a complaint and not to be retaliated against. Employers also must prominently display the new paid sick leave poster with information about employees’ new sick leave rights. Forget this step, and you could be facing a civil penalty of up to $100 per offense.

Employers will also need to be diligent about keeping records for at least three years pertaining to paid sick leave such as hours worked and the accrual and usage of paid sick leave.

What should you do now?
The National Law Review has provided a convenient compliance checklist of things you need to do now, including:

  • Display the new paid sick leave poster.
  • Prepare and be ready to distribute by no later than July 8, 2015, either (1) the new Wage Theft Prevention Act notices for each current non-exempt employee; or (2) another notice that includes the new paid sick leave information from the Wage Theft Prevention Act form.
  • Review your existing paid time off (PTO) policies for compliance.
  • Be prepared to track the accrual and use of employees’ paid sick time and keep accurate records for three years.
  • Make sure employees’ available paid sick time is reflected on each wage statement or other document provided at the same time.

Are you ready?
This is a fairly complex law and time is running out, so if you haven’t already done so, now is the time review your policies and procedures, understand your obligations, and confirm that you’re complying with all notice and posting requirements. For a complete rundown of the new law, see the Frequently Asked Questions provided by the State of California Department of Industrial Relations.

Need an expert in your corner to help you stay compliant and protect your business? Contact the group benefits professionals at BeaconPath.

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