Most California Employers Must Offer Workers 3-paid Sick Days Each Year

Employers possibly even outside of California will be dealing with another new labor law next July 1 – three days of paid sick leave is now required for almost all workers.

In a public bill signing ceremony by Gov. Jerry Brown, in Los Angeles earlier this month Gov. Brown proclaimed that, “Whether you’re a dishwasher in San Diego or a store clerk in Oakland, this bill frees you of having to choose between your family’s health and your job.” Adding, “Make no mistake, California is putting its workers first.” The Governor’s office claimed that about 6.5 million, or 40 percent, of California’s “workforce” does not receive any paid sick leave. This number seems suspiciously inflated and likely includes the self-employed and independent contractors too.

Under the new law, AB 1522, by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego), workers employed for 90 days will be eligible to use up to 3-days of sick leave they earn or accrue. Workers will be able to earn a minimum of one hour of sick leave for every 30 hours worked and are guaranteed to be able to use at least three days’ worth of paid leave to care for themselves or a family member when they fall ill.

There are exemptions for employers and employees working under collective bargaining agreements, including specific rules for construction workers, other union agreements, home healthcare workers (which was a heated and contentious issue) and airline flight crews.

There were no exemptions for the trucking industry (unless your company is unionized), and very few construction trucking companies are today. The law requires employees that work “in California for 30 or more days within a year from the commencement of employment is entitled to be paid sick days.” It would appear even companies outside of California and those workers who travel (work in California) the equivalent of 30 days within a year are subject to this requirement.

It is likely that this regulation may even apply to out of state employers including for-hire and private motor carriers’ employees hauling into and out of California.

The bill would also prohibit an employer from discriminating or retaliating against an employee who requests any of these paid sick days. The bill would require employers to satisfy specified posting and notice and record keeping requirements. The bill would define terms for those purposes.

Employers with existing paid leave or paid time off (PTO) programs may be exempt, but will have to check the bill details.

It appears that workers employed prior to the effective date of 7/1/15 will be eligible for the benefit, so it is important for employers to keep track of these effective dates. For more details, go to:

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