06.16.2015
Update on Sick Leave Clean-Up Legislation and Related Bills

As discussed during our recent Breakfast Briefings on the sick leave law, the Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act of 2014, we have been tracking various bills at the California Legislature regarding sick leave.  Following is the latest on each of these bills:

AB-304

AB-304 seeks to clarify a number of ambiguities in the sick leave law.  Among other provisions, AB-304 would:

(1) Clarify that an employee must work in California for the same employer for 30 or more days within a year to be eligible for paid sick leave;

(2) Provide that an employer may use a different accrual method, other than providing one hour for every 30 hours worked, so long as the accrual is on a regular basis and the employee is given not less than 24 hours of accrued sick leave or paid time off by the 120th calendar day of employment or each calendar year, or each 12-month basis;

(3) Exclude a retired annuitant of a public entity from the definition of employee;

(4) Permit an employer who provides unlimited sick leave to its employees to satisfy notice requirements by indicating “unlimited” on the employee’s itemized wage statement;

(5) Provide that if the employee receives a different hourly rate when the accrued sick leave is taken, the rate of pay would be calculated in the same manner as the regular rate of pay for purposes of overtime;

(6) Provide that an employer is not required to reinstate accrued paid time off to an employee, rehired within one year of separation from employment, that was paid out at the time of termination, resignation, or separation;

(7) Delay the itemized wage statement reporting requirement for employers covered by Wage Order 11 (Broadcasting Industry) or 12 (Motion Picture Industry) of the Industrial Welfare Commission until January 21, 2016; and

(8) Provide that an employer is not obligated to inquire into or record the purposes for which an employee uses paid leave or paid time off.

AB-304 has not yet passed the Assembly.  Because it is an urgency bill, however, it was not subject to the June 5, 2015 deadline for passing bills in their house of origin.  As an urgency bill, it would take effect immediately upon signing by the Governor.

SB-579

An early version of SB-579 would have allowed for sick leave to be used for leave to attend to a child’s school pursuant to the Family School Partnership Act.  However, that provision was removed due to opposition that such use has nothing to do with sick leave.  SB-579 now would expand California’s Kin Care law to be consistent with the sick leave law.

SB-579 also expands on the currently authorized reasons for which an employee can take job-protected time off of work under the Family School Partnership Act by allowing workers to take time off work to: (1) find, enroll, or re-enroll their child in a school or with a licensed child care provider; and (2) to address a child care provider or school emergency.

SB-579 passed the Senate by a vote of 38-1, and is now before the Assembly.

AB-11

Providers of in-home support services are specifically excluded from the definition of “employee” under the sick leave law, and are therefore not entitled to accrue and use paid sick leave.  AB-11 would have revised the Act’s definition of “employee” to include providers of in-home support services.

AB-11 was not given a third reading in the Assembly and was not voted upon for passage by the full Assembly.  Because the June 5, 2015 deadline for passing non-urgency bills in their house of origin has passed, AB-11 is unlikely to become law during the 2015 legislative session.

We will continue to monitor and track these bills towards the July 1, 2015 deadline to implement sick leave policies and beyond.  Please contact one of the authors if you have any further questions.

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