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Department of Industrial Relations Issues FAQs on Compliance with New Paid Sick Leave Law Requirements
As of January 1, 2024, California’s paid sick leave law requirements will expand. The California Department of Industrial Relations (“DIR”), which is tasked with enforcing the paid sick leave law, just released new guidance regarding the recent revisions.
Some of the key provisions of the law clarified by the new guidance include:
- Frontloaded Leave:
- Currently, employers have the option of complying with the California Paid Sick Law by either: (1) implementing an accrual method with a minimum accrual rate (discussed below); or (2) frontloading the greater of 24 hours or three (3) days of paid sick leave at the beginning of each year of employment, calendar year, or 12-month period. Employers who choose to frontload paid sick leave will now be required to frontload 40 hours or five (5) days of paid sick leave each year as of January 1, 2024.
- Schools that frontload paid sick leave once a year must provide the greater of either five (5) days or 40 hours of paid sick leave. This means that employees who regularly work shifts longer than eight (8) hours would be entitled to be frontloaded with more than 40 hours of paid sick leave annually. Conversely, if employees regularly work less than eight (8) hours (for example, part-time employees), the minimum amount of paid sick leave that can be frontloaded is still 40 hours.
- Schools that frontload paid sick leave are required to do so at the beginning of each year of employment, calendar year, or 12-month period. Prior to January 1, 2024, the minimum amount of paid sick leave that could be frontloaded annually by a school was the greater of three (3) days or 24 hours. For schools that frontloaded the greater of three (3) days or 24 hours of paid sick leave at the beginning of this school year, the DIR guidance states that the school has two options to comply with the new law:
- the School can frontload the greater of two (2) days or 16 hours of paid sick leave on January 1, 2024; or
- the School can change the annual date that paid sick leave is frontloaded to the beginning of the calendar year, and frontload the greater of five (5) days or 40 hours of paid sick leave on January 1, 2024.
- Accrued Leave:
- Schools continue to have the option to implement an accrual policy for paid sick leave instead of frontloading the full amount each year. An accrual policy is one where employees earn sick leave over time, with the accrued time carrying over in each year of employment. In general, employees under an accrual plan must earn at least one (1) hour of paid sick leave for each 30 hours of work (the 1:30 schedule). If schools adopt or keep other types of accrual schedules, the alternate accrual schedule must result in an employee having at least 24 hours of accrued sick leave or paid time off by the 120th calendar day of employment and 40 hours by the 200th calendar day of employment.
- For schools that provide paid sick leave to employees on an accrual basis, the minimum cap on sick leave accrual must be increased from the six (6) days or 48 hours to ten (10) days or 80 hours, effective January 1, 2024.
- Capping Leave:
- Schools that have policies capping employee’s use of accrued sick leave at the greater of three (3) days or 24 hours per year must amend those policies by January 1, 2024, to permit employees to use at least the greater of five (5) days or 40 hours of paid sick leave each year.
- Seasonal Employees:
- The DIR also provides guidance regarding a school’s obligation to reinstate sick leave for seasonal employees. The updated FAQs provide the example that if an employee only works 60 days one year for an employer, but returns within one year of employment for another 60 day period (such as may be the case for summer camp employees or coaches), the paid sick leave law requires that the seasonal employee’s accrued and unused sick leave be reinstated each year.
Additionally, schools that are subject to a local paid sick leave ordinance (this includes schools located in within the cities of Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego, Santa Monica, Berkeley, Oakland, and Emeryville) may need to provide benefits that are more generous.
It is important that schools ensure their paid sick leave policies comply with the new requirements. LCW has an updated California Paid Sick Leave policy available on the Liebert Library. Access to the Liebert Library is included for premium consortium members.
If you have questions about implementing the amendments to the California Paid Sick Leave law, please contact our Los Angeles, San Francisco, Fresno, San Diego, or Sacramento office.