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LOS ANGELES

Paid Sick Leave

ATTORNEY

LAWYERS FOR EMPLOYERS

WE REPRESENT AND ADVISE EMPLOYERS IN WORKPLACE DISPUTES

    • Which workers are subject to California’s Paid Sick Leave laws?

    • Complying with the Healthy Workplace Healthy Family Act

    • COVID-19 and Paid Sick Leave

    • What Do I Need to Do to Make Sure My Company is in Compliance?

Complying with California’s Paid Sick Leave Laws

All individuals who are classified as employees under California’s new classification system are entitled to paid sick leave. This has never been more important than in 2020 when the world was dealing with its first pandemic in the last 100 years. As Los Angeles Employment Lawyers, we will guide you in ways to protect your company from lawsuits emerging from paid sick leave disputes.

Understanding California Law

The Healthy Workplace Healthy Family Act of 2014 made it mandatory for businesses to provide paid sick leave to their employees. However, the provisions of this act are quite confusing. Essentially, for every 30 hours that an employee works, they gain one hour of paid sick leave. These hours are then applied to days where the employee calls in sick. An employer may also limit the amount of paid sick leave that can be accrued to 24 hours or three workdays. The law permits employers to cap the amount of paid sick leave that can be carried over from one year to the next to 48 hours or six workdays. The employee is entitled to paid sick leave after 90 days of employment.

Additionally, employees are allowed to use sick days to take care of family members—not just because the employee themselves is sick. Employees who are the victim of domestic violence or stalking may also use paid sick leave when necessary.

Complying with the Healthy Workplace Healthy Family Act

The HWHFA gives employees certain rights and places certain responsibilities on employers. Failure to comply with the provisions of this act can result in lawsuits filed by employees against their employers. In situations in which an employee forces an employee to come into work and thus violates the law, the employee can file a lawsuit against the employer for injuries or other issues that resulted from the denial of their sick leave or firing as a result of requesting sick leave.

Compliance with HWHFA includes:

  • Displaying posters in employee areas that inform employees concerning their rights under the HWHFA. The posters can be downloaded in PDF format and are available in multiple languages.
  • Providing employees with notice of their sick leave rights at the time of their hire.
  • Either calculate the accrual of paid sick leave or ensure that the employee is afforded three full days of paid sick leave every 12 months.
  • Inform an employee in writing how many paid sick leave days they have left. Generally, this information is provided on their pay stub.
  • Keep three years’ worth of records relating to an employee’s use of paid sick leave.

Lastly, it is absolutely prohibited to retaliate against an employee for requesting sick leave. Further, the employer cannot require the employee to find a replacement or be denied sick leave. Essentially, employers are not allowed to use an employee’s sick leave to leverage them into performing some duty.

Who is Not Covered by the HWHFA?

All employees who are without collective bargaining agreements are covered by the HWHFA. In addition to State of California requirements, some employers operating in municipal jurisdictions like Los Angeles may be required to follow certain ordinances that only apply within the jurisdiction of the city. It is up to the individual employer to know all of the laws related to their location and follow them.

What Do I Need to Do to Make Sure My Company is in Compliance?

Hiring a skilled employment attorney is certainly one way to hedge your bets when it comes to avoiding preventable employee lawsuits. Nonetheless, there are decisions that need to be made. These include:

  • Deciding the process for accruing sick leave – The statute requires that all employers afford each employee 1 hour of paid sick leave per 30 hours worked. However, this is not the only way to calculate paid sick leave. An employer may be in compliance with the statute by affording all employees three days of paid sick leave per year regardless of how many hours they worked. The employee must have at least three sick days accrued in 120 days. Existing paid sick leave policies are okay so long as they meet the above minimum requirements.
  • Ensure that employees are notified of their rights – As stated earlier, posters must be placed into employee-accessible areas. Further, employers are expected to address paid sick leave in employee handbooks. A good employee handbook can help you avoid lawsuits related to wage and hour theft, including sick leave violations.
  • Maintain accurate records – Employers must be able to inform employees concerning how much sick leave they have left, how much is used, and keep track of accruals in sick leave time.

COVID-19 and Paid Sick Leave

The provisions concerning paid sick leave and COVID-19 all expired on December 31st, 2020. However, wage and hour lawsuits stemming from employer actions during the pandemic are now moving forward in the courts. Employers were expected to provide paid sick leave in accord with federal provisions enacted by Congress. In addition, the State of California passed provisions that expired in 2020.

Employers must remember that an employee who is caring for an immediate family member is also entitled to paid sick leave under the law, regardless of whether or not they are ill or even at risk of contracting the virus. A worker who has a family member who is quarantining after exposure to the virus is thus allowed to take time off to ensure that they are treated.

Employees who contract COVID-19 on the job are entitled to workers’ compensation insurance, but insurance companies have been denying the majority of these claims because the worker cannot prove how or when they contracted the illness. However, California has a system in place for workers who have exhausted all usual remedies for compensation. Employers do not need to worry about that. What they do need to worry about is facing lawsuits after their workers’ compensation insurer denies an employee’s workers’ comp claim.

The Wright Law Firm Employment Lawyers Can Help

When it comes to avoiding lawsuits filed by employees, prevention is the best medicine. Having a system in place in accordance with the law prevents employee lawsuits before they occur. The Wright Law Firm Employment Lawyers can help your company protect itself from damaging wage and hour claims related to the denial of an employee’s rights. Call today to learn more

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