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Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Governor Brown Signs Urgency Legislation Amending Sick Leave Law

Last September, Governor Brown signed California’s new sick leave law, the Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act, or HWHFA. (Quite a name. Rolls right off the tongue.) With limited exceptions, the HWHFA requires employers to provide employees with paid sick leave, which employees can use to care for themselves or their family members. Unfortunately, whether you support the idea of giving employees paid sick leave or not, the law was not very clear. With the law set to kick in on July 15, many employers were still guessing as to how to implement it.

On July 13, with two days to spare, Governor Brown signed legislation to clarify the law. Cal. Labor Code sections 245.5, 246, and 247.5. 

As just one example, the original law provided that employees could accrue sick leave at a rate of not less than one hour of leave for every 30 hours worked, or employers could provide a lump sum of three days or 24 hours at the start of each year. But what about employers whose existing sick leave or paid time off (PTO) policies accrued leave at a different rate? Under the amended law, employers may allow sick leave to accrue a basis other than one hour for each 30 hours worked, as long as (1) the sick leave accrues on a regular basis and (2) the employee will accrue at least 24 hours of sick leave by the 120th calendar day of employment. 

The law amending the statutes, AB 304, was designated as urgency legislation, to go into effect immediately. It is available here

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