Allevity Blog

Mandatory Paid Sick Leave

Dec 15, 2014

*Cough* *Cough*

What’s that sound? Oh, yeah – cold and flu season. The sound of every employee in your office passing something around. Back and forth. For months to come.

The difference now? The state of California has decided you have to pay them for at least some of the days those illnesses keep them home. 

The good news is, a lot of companies already offer paid sick leave to employees, and for those who already meet the requirements set forth by the new Paid Sick Leave law – you’re in the clear and don’t have to worry about making any changes. 

But for those who don’t, updating policies and preparing to provide paid sick leave to each and every one of your employees is going to need to become a priority by July 1st of 2015 – a good couple of months before the next round of cold and flu begins.

So what are the guidelines?

Well, at minimum, you have to provide at least 24 hours (or 3 days) of paid sick leave to employees each year. Any employee, full or part time, who has worked for 30 or more days within that year would be eligible. This also applies to exempt and non-exempt employees alike. 

In terms of accrual, your employees should be banking at least one hour of sick pay for every 30 hours they work. You can cap the amount they can use at 24 hours (or 3 days) per year, and the accrual amount can be capped at 48 hours (or 6 days). But accrued hours will need to carry over from year to year.  And if an employee leaves the company, but is rehired again within one year, their previously accrued sick leave must be reinstated and available for them to use right away. However, unlike accrued vacation time, which is treated like wages, sick leave does not have to be paid out once employment is terminated. 

Now, what if you hire someone and they call one morning to say they aren’t going to make it just two weeks into the job? Well, according to the Act, they aren’t actually eligible to use their accrued sick hours until they have worked for you for at least 90 days – so you aren’t required to give them anything while they stay home mending that cold. But once that 90 days is up, they are entitled to that leave, both for instances of caring for their own health, and for providing care for a family member. 

One important thing to note is that when an employee is using their paid sick leave, you cannot require them to seek out a replacement worker for their days off. This will be relevant especially in the bar and restaurant industries, where it has previously been commonplace for employers to put the onus on employees to cover their shifts. New policies will have to be put into place for management to now seek out those replacements. 

Allevity is here to help with your concerns and assist in the creation and implementation of new policies related to the Paid Sick Leave Act. We’ll get you situated with the new guidelines before your employees start passing the sniffles around. 

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