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February 4, 2015  |  Written by Alexis K. Stevens

California’s New Paid Sick Leave Law

On January 1, 2015, Assembly Bill 1522, the Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act of 2014 (Paid Sick Leave Law) went into effect.  Under the Paid Sick Leave Law, employers are required to provide at least three days (24 hours) of paid sick leave to employees that work in California for 30 or more days within a year.  Most employees will be eligible for paid sick leave under the new law including temporary, seasonal, and part-time employees.  Additionally, the new law generally applies to all employers regardless of size, including the state and local governments.

Even though the law went into effect on January 1st, an employee’s right to accrue and/or take sick leave does not take effect until July 1, 2015.  As of July 1st, all employees that qualify under the law must accrue paid sick leave at a rate of no less than one hour for every 30 hours worked.  Employees are entitled to use accrued paid sick days beginning on the 90th day of employment.  The leave can be used for diagnosis, care or treatment of an existing health condition or preventative care for the employee, or a qualifying “family member.”  The law defines “family member” very broadly to include a parent, child, spouse, registered domestic partner, parent-in-law, sibling, grandchild, or grandparent.  An employer can limit an employee’s use of paid sick days to 3 days (24 hours) in each year, however accrued paid sick days must be carried over to the following year.  Employers may cap the maximum accrual of covered paid sick leave at 6 days (48 hours).

At this point it is unclear how this law will interact with existing laws involving paid sick leave, for instance the Kin Care law (Labor Code section 233) and local paid sick leave ordinances like those in San Francisco, San Diego, and Oakland.  Employers should review their current sick leave policies to ensure compliance with the Paid Sick Leave Law by July 1, 2015.

For more information, please contact Alexis K. Stevens at

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