Employees Paid Sick Leave Now Protected

Effective July 1, 2015, Californians will be guaranteed the right to take at least some paid sick leave without getting fired or worrying about losing their jobs or getting wrongfully terminated.

Governor Brown signed the Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act of 2014 last fall. This new law requires that employers, whether they are public or private, allow employees to accrue paid sick leave at a rate of one (1) hour for every thirty (30) hours of time worked. This law applies to all employers regardless of the number of employees, and covers temporary, part-time and full-time workers.

The Act has caps on usage and accrual. The employer may cap an employee’s use of paid sick leave to 24 hours, or three days, in each year. Further, an employer may cap an employee’s accrual of paid sick leave to 48 hour per year, or six days.

Employers who already have paid sick leave policies are no required to take any further action as long as their policies are not inconsistent with the requirements of the Act.

An employee may now take sick leave for a variety of reasons, including the care or treatment of existing health care conditions, the prevention of new ones, or for the care of an employee’s spouse, child or registered domestic partner, grandparent, grandchild, or sibling.

Under the Act, and employer may not subject an employee to any adverse employment action (termination, demotion, suspension) for taking paid sick days, or for opposing practices or acts prohibited by the Act. Therefore, expect to see an uptick in cases brought alleging wrongful retaliation against employees for exercising their rights to take paid sick leave under the Act.