Are you ready for AB 1522?

Mary Scala, VP/Human Resources Managerby Mary Scala, VP/Human Resources Manager, Scott Valley Bank

Ready or not, it is here. AB 1522, aka: Healthy Workplace Healthy Families Act of 2014, commonly referred to as paid sick leave, has taken effect July 1, 2015. Unless you are an employer whose employees are covered by a valid collective bargaining agreement which provides for paid sick days, or employ in-home support services employees, or whose employees are airline flight deck or cabin crew who have equivalent benefits, this law requires that you provide paid sick leave to your employees. This requirement is regardless of how many (or few) employees you have. There is no exemption for small businesses. If you have one employee, you must provide paid sick leave.

Below are some of the main provisions of the new legislation:

  • Any employee working in California on or after 7/1/15 for 30 or more calendar days within a year is entitled to paid sick leave.
  • Paid sick leave accrues at the rate of 1 hour per every 30 hours worked. Alternatively, an employer can “bank” 24 hours or 3 days (whichever is greater) at the beginning of each calendar year, anniversary date or twelve month period.
  • Leave is paid at the employee’s current rate of pay.
  • Accrued paid sick leave must carry over to the following year and may be capped at 48 hours (or 6 days) based on a policy. However, the employer may limit use at 24 hours or 3 days per year. If sick leave is “banked”, the employer is not required to provide for carry over of sick leave.
  • Sick leave is not paid out at time of termination, however if an employee is rehired within one year of separation, previously accrued (or banked) unused paid sick days shall be reinstated.

The Department of Industrial Relations has compiled 6 steps to successfully comply with this new law.

  • 1. Display the required poster on paid sick leave where employees can read it easily (required on 1/1/15). Then create your sick leave policy and share with your staff.
  • 2. Provide written notice with paid sick leave information at the time of hire to all employees hired on or after 1/1/15. (This information is included on the “Notice to Employees” required by section 2810.5 which was added to the Labor Code by AB469, also known as the Wage Theft Protection Act of 2011.) Provide this same notice to all other employees by July 8, 2015.
  • 3. Provide for accrual of 1 hour of sick leave for every 30 hours of work for each eligible employee or credit 24 hours or 3 days of sick leave to each eligible employee’s sick leave bank.
  • 4. Allow eligible employees to use accrued paid sick leave upon request or notification.
  • 5. Show the balance of sick leave an employee has available.This must be on a pay stub or a document issued the same day as a paycheck.
  • 6. Keep records showing how many hours have been accrued (or banked) and used for 3 years.

Whether you’re ready or not, this law has gone into effect 7/1/15 and there are penalties for not complying. Being an employer in California has been and continues to be a very challenging endeavor.

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