California Workers To Start Accruing Sick Leave Hours Today
A law (AB 1522) going into effect on Wednesday will allow millions of California workers to begin earning paid time off to take care of themselves or family members who are sick, the Sacramento Bee's "Capitol Alert" reports (White, "Capitol Alert," Sacramento Bee, 6/30).
Workers can use the sick leave to deal with:
- Existing health conditions;
- Diagnoses of conditions; and
- Other specified purposes, such as sexual assault or domestic violence (Rice, NBC Southern California, 6/30).
Background on Law
In September 2014, Gov. Jerry Brown (D) signed into law a bill, by Assembly member Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego), that requires a minimum of three paid sick days per year for employees who work 30 or more days in a calendar year.
California is the second state to enact such a law, after Connecticut.
About 40% of the state's workforce -- or about 6.5 million individuals -- do not have access to paid sick leave.
The new law applies to all part-time and full-time workers, except:
- Airline flight crews and attendants, who fall under federal labor laws;
- Employees who are subject to collective bargaining agreements; and
- In-home health care providers.
An amendment to exempt home care providers was added to the bill after estimates found that including such workers would cost the state about $106 million annually (California Healthline, 9/11).
How To Use Sick Leave
Employees who accrue sick leave can use the time off by submitting a request to their employer verbally or in writing. They will receive their normal hourly wage while they are out (NBC Southern California, 6/30).
Gonzalez said that "employees can't be penalized for using their paid sick days," adding, "They can't be fired or have their hours cut" (Karol, KXTV/USA Today, 6/30).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.