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Last month, California joined Connecticut and a growing number of municipalities that require employers to provide paid sick leave for employees. The law, known as the Healthy Workplaces, Health Families Act of 2014 (the “Act”), provides employees with the ability to accrue at least three paid days of sick leave annually. The law is due to go into effect on July 1, 2015.
Under the Act, employees who work for thirty or more days within a year are entitled to receive paid sick leave. The leave accumulates at a rate of not less than one hour for every thirty hours worked. Other key provisions include a notice posting requirement for employers and a three year record retention policy regarding hours worked, paid sick time accumulated and paid sick time actually used. Importantly, employees must be allowed to use sick time for a family member’s illness as well.
By enacting the law, California becomes the second state to require that employers provide paid sick leave for employees. New York City, San Francisco and Newark, New Jersey are just a few of the municipalities that already provide similar benefits and this fall, voters in Massachusetts and several other municipalities will decide similar measures requiring paid sick leave. Interestingly, the United States is the only country among the twenty-two “richest” countries that does not guarantee workers some form of paid sick leave according to a 2009 Center for Economic Policy Research study, but that trend may be changing.
Businesses with employees based in California should review their policies and procedures prior to the July 1, 2015 effective date to ensure compliance with the new law. Failing to do so could prove pricey; the Act includes penalties for non-compliance ranging up to damages in the thousands of dollars per violation. As always, be sure to check back with us for any updates on what might be an emerging national trend.