On October 4, 2023, the Governor of California signed Senate Bill 616, which increases the amount of paid sick leave (“PSL”) that employers are required to provide to California employees.
Senate Bill 616 modifies the existing law, in force since 2015. Under existing law, employees who work in California for the same employer for at least thirty (30) days must accrue no less than one (1) hour of PSL per every thirty (30) hours worked. The employer may also use alternative accrual methods so long as employees have three days or twenty-four (24) hours (whichever is longer) of available PSL by the employee’s 120th calendar day of employment or each calendar year.
SB 616 continues to allow different accrual methods other than one (1) hour per every thirty (30) hours worked, however employees must have no less than three (3) days or twenty-four (24) hours of paid sick leave available by the 120th calendar day of employment, and no less than five (5) days or forty (40) hours of accrued paid sick leave by the 200th calendar day of employment, or each calendar year. SB 616 also requires that employers increase the accrual and carryover cap to ten (10) days/eighty (80) hours.
As an alternative to the accrual methods, employers may provide the entire five (5) days or forty (40) hours of PSL upfront each year of employment, calendar year, or 12-month period. No accrual or carryover is required in this case.
Finally, SB 616 broadens specific procedural and anti-retaliation measures within the current PSL legislation to include employees governed by valid collective bargaining agreements, even if they would typically be exempt from other aspects of the PSL laws.
The changes to California’s PSL law take effect January 1, 2024. Accordingly, employers should review and update their sick leave policies and practices to comply with the new requirements.
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