On October 4th, 2023, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed SB 616, expanding California paid sick leave under the Healthy Workplace Healthy Family Act of 2014. The new law will cover virtually all California employees who work for at least 30 days in a year. SB 616 will take effect on January 1st, 2024. The 2023 California legislative session ended in the middle of September. Since then, a slate of new state laws have crossed Governor Newsom’s desk. Recently, California legislators modified regulations regarding employment background checks. These modifications bar most employers from asking applicants about their conviction history before making a conditional job offer.
Healthy Workplace Healthy Family Act of 2014
Signed in 2014, the Healthy Workplace Healthy Family Act guarantees employees working in California on or after July 1st, 2015, for 30 days or more within a year, paid sick leave. Covered employees include full-time, part-time, and temporary employees. Under the law, covered employees earn at least one hour of paid leave for every 30 hours worked. Accrual began on July 1st, 2015. These employees may use any accrued California paid sick leave beginning on the 90th day of employment.
The law does not cover employees covered by qualifying collective bargaining agreements, In-Home Supportive Services providers, and certain employees of air carriers are not covered by this law. Finally, an employer may limit the amount of paid sick leave an employee can use in one year to 24 hours or three days. Accrued paid sick leave may be carried over to the next year, but it may be capped at 48 hours or six days. Under the law, employers must:
- Display required California paid sick leave labor law postings.
- Provide written notice to employees of their sick leave rights at the time of hire.
- Allow employees to accrue one hour of paid sick time for every 30 hours worked; to use at least 24 hours (or three days) of paid sick leave per year upon reasonable request; or provide the same amount of paid sick leave at the beginning of a 12-month period.
- Show employees how much sick time is available.
- Keep records showing how many hours have been earned and used for three years, which mirrors recordkeeping requirements for similar payroll records at the federal level.
Changes to California Paid Sick Leave
The changes to California paid sick leave law under SB 616 take effect on January 1st, 2024. These include:
- An increased annual amount of entitled paid sick leave under either the upfront or accrual method from 24 hours (three days) to 40 hours (five days);
- For employers using the accrual method, increased hours owed to 40 hours by an employee’s 200th day of employment and accruing at least 24 hours by their 120th day of employment;
- An increase, from 24 hours (three days) to 40 hours (five days), to paid sick leave days carried over each year;
- Increases to the cap on an employee’s paid sick leave accrual from 48 hours (six days) to 80 hours (ten days); and
- Extended procedural and anti-retaliation provisions to cover employees under a valid collective bargaining agreement that provides for different paid sick leave obligations.
Additionally, California paid sick leave provisions, as amended under SB 616, preempt any local cities’ paid sick leave ordinances that have less generous requirements. Thus, SB 616 creates a state-wide minimum for paid sick leave.