Dan Chammas is a California-based lawyer who has worked on a variety of important projects and cases throughout his career. An important legislation change that he has been working with is the requirement of all California employers, including non-profit organizations, to offer sick leave to their employees. Known as the California Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act, it was passed in 2014, and was put into effect on July 1st, 2015.
Prior to the passage of this law, there were many small companies and organizations that were not required to offer their employees paid sick leave. However, under the new legislation, virtually all employers are affected, with no loopholes. There are a few very small exceptions, but they only apply to a select minority of employers, and cannot be used as a way to get around paying employees the family leave that they need. The law even covers employers who are based in another state, but have some employees working in California. If you live in California, but telecommute with a company that is based in another state, you are still covered under this law.
The main provision of this law is that for every thirty hours worked, the employer must provide them with one hour of sick leave. This law only applies after an employee has been working for a full thirty-day month. Employers may limit the amount of sick pay to a total of three days (or twenty-four working hours) each year. The sick days usually must roll over into the next year if they go unused. However, this roll-over does not apply if the employer provides the full amount of sick leave at the beginning of each year, instead of waiting until the employee has worked the requisite amount of hours to ‘earn’ it. Employers are also not required to provide their employees with more than six days, or 48 hours, worth of sick leave in roll-over time.
During the sick leave period, the employee must be provided with their standard, contracted hourly or salaried rate of compensation. If the employee regularly receives extra pay through commissions, this must be factored into their sick leave compensation. Sick leave can be used for a variety of different reasons, including preventative health care, or care of a family member. If the employee is terminated for any reason, the employer is not required to compensate them with sick leave.
All employers are legally required to provide written notice to their employees regarding their sick leave rights, usually through posters or signage that is displayed prominently in the workplace common areas. Employers must also keep detailed records of sick leave for at least three years. As a lawyer, Dan Chammas helps his clients navigate the ins and outs of paid sick leave.