Written By Chris Dolan and Monica La
This week’s question comes from Gerry in San Francisco, CA, who asks: I know that recently, California passed a new law to raise the number of paid sick leave days from three to five days. Can you explain more about this new law and when this change will take effect?
Under California’s existing paid sick leave law, employers must provide at least 24 hours or three days of paid sick leave each year to most workers, including full-time, part-time, and temporary workers, who meet certain eligibility requirements. However, last month, the California state legislature passed Senate Bill No. 616 (“SB 616”), an amendment to the 2014 Health Workplaces, Healthy Families Act, to set an increased statewide minimum standard for paid sick leave.
According to the new law:
- Employers must provide at least 40 hours or five days of Paid Sick Leave per year.
- Employers must still provide 24 hours or three days of Paid Sick Leave time by the 120th day of employment. SB 616 additionally requires that an employee have no less than 40 hours of accrued sick leave or paid time off by the 200th calendar day of employment each calendar year or in each 12-month period.
- Employers who use the accrual method are still required to allow an employee’s remaining accrued Paid Sick Time to carry over to the next year, year of employment, or 12-month period. However, employers may limit this carry-over. SB 616 raises the employer’s authorized limitation on the use of carryover sick leave from 24 hours or three days to 40 hours or five days in each year of employment.
- Under existing law, an employer has no obligation to allow an employee’s total accrual of paid sick leave to exceed 48 hours or six days, provided that an employee’s rights to accrue and use paid sick leave are not otherwise limited, as specified. SB 616 increases those accrual thresholds for paid sick leave to 80 hours or ten days.
- Employers must provide written notice to employees about the amount of paid sick leave available to them, including the amount on the employee’s itemized wage statement or in a separate writing provided on the designated pay date with the employee’s payment of wages. If an employer provides unlimited paid sick leave or unlimited paid time off to an employee, the employer may satisfy this section by indicating on the notice or the employee’s itemized wage statement “unlimited.”
SB 616 also includes an exemption for employees covered by a valid collective bargaining agreement (CBA) that provides for paid sick leave, subject to certain conditions. Specifically, the bill requires that such employees be permitted to use sick leave for the same reason as employees who are not subject to a CBA. Employers may not retaliate against employees who use paid sick leave, and employees are entitled to a rebuttable presumption of retaliation if the employer takes an adverse employment action within 30 days of certain protected activity.
The new California Paid Sick Leave law takes effect on January 1, 2024, affecting virtually all employers with employees in the state, preempting any local ordinance to the contrary.