AB 1522 – Paid Sick Leave

Category: Fire Watch
Date: Dec 31, 2014 01:36 PM

Effective July 1, 2015, this legislation entitles employees to accrue and use up to three paid sick leave days in a 12-month period for the diagnosis, care, or treatment of an existing health condition or preventative care for an employee or an employee's family members.  The bill also provides paid sick leave where the employee is a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking.  This legislation will cover most temporary, extra help, part-time, and seasonal employees, as long as they work 30 days or more within a year of beginning employment.   

Employees will accrue one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked, up to 3 days or 24 hours per 12-month period.  Employees are allowed to use accrued sick leave beginning on the 90th day of employment.  Employers are also required to allow employees to carry over accrued sick days to the following year, up to a cap of 6 days or 48 hours.  However, an employer can limit the use of paid sick leave to 3 days or 24 hours in each year of employment. 

If the employee in the 90 days of employment before taking accrued sick leave had different hourly pay rates, was paid by commission or piece rate, or was a nonexempt salaried employee, then the rate of pay shall be calculated by dividing the employee's total wages, not including overtime premium pay, by the employee's total hours worked in the full pay periods of the prior 90 days of employment.  An employer can set reasonable minimum increments of sick leave, not to exceed two hours.  Moreover, if the need for paid sick leave is foreseeable, the employer shall provide reasonable advance notice to the employer.  If the leave is unforeseeable, notice shall be provided as soon as practicable. 

The following employees are exempt from AB 1522:

Employees covered by a valid collective bargaining agreement if the agreement expressly provides paid sick days or paid leave for sick days, final and binding arbitration of disputes about paid sick days, premium wage rates for all overtime, and a regular hourly rate of pay of not less than 30 percent more than the state minimum wage rate;

Employees in the construction industry covered by a valid collective bargaining agreement;

Providers of in-home support services; and

Employees of an air carrier flight deck or cabin crew members.

Employers who already have a paid sick leave policy or paid time off policy in place are not required to provide additional sick days if their current policies satisfy the accrual, carry over, and use requirements of AB 1522 and they provide no fewer than 24 hours paid sick leave each year.  If an employer's current policy does not allow for sick leave to carry over year to year, it must amend its policy to comply with the minimum carry over requirement up to an accrual cap of 48 hours of sick leave.

New Labor Code section 246(h), enacted by AB 1522, will require that all employers, including public entities, provide the amount of paid sick leave available (or PTO leave in lieu of sick) either on the itemized wage statement used in compliance with Section 226 or in a separate writing provided on the designated pay date with the employee's payment of wages.

IMPORTANT – AB 1522 is vaguely drafted and has left many questions unanswered as to its application and does not adequately address its interaction with other statutory provisions or employers' existing policies.  Any such guidance will most likely come in the form of clean-up legislation or implementing regulations as authorized in the bill from the Department of Labor Standards Enforcement ("DLSE", aka "Labor Commissioner").  LCW will continue to provide updates as further interpretation and guidance of this complex bill becomes available.  Employers should continue to follow developments on this bill in drafting and implementing their policies ahead of the July 1, 2015 effective date. 

(AB 1522 amends Section 2810.5 of, and to add Article 1.5 (commencing with Section 245) to Chapter 1 of Part 1 of Division 2 of, the Labor Code.)

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