Employees Entitled to Greater Paid Sick Leave Benefits Starting in 2024
The law will apply to nearly all employees who work at least 30 days in a year. Because of the multitude of changes and SB 616’s widespread applicability, employers will want to prepare for its effective date of January 1, 2024, and consult counsel well in advance about its impact.
Major Changes Under SB 616
SB 616 amends the Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act of 2014 in numerous ways. Key changes are outlined here:
- Increasing the amount of paid sick leave. Most notably the new law increases the amount of paid sick leave eligible employees can accrue from 24 hours/three days to 40 hours/five days (whichever is greater).
- Increasing the accrual cap on paid sick leave. The accrual cap on paid sick leave increases from 48 hours/six days to 80 hours/10 days.
- The accrual requirements will change. For those employers that use a paid sick leave accrual system other than one hour of leave for every 30 hours worked, SB 616 requires that employees accrue at least 24 hours/three days (whichever is greater) of paid sick leave by the employee’s 120th day of employment and accrue 40 hours/five days (whichever is greater) of paid sick leave by the employee’s 200th day of work.
- The conditions for a paid leave or time-off policy have changed. Under existing law, an employer is not required to provide additional paid sick time if the employer has a paid leave or paid time-off policy, makes an amount of leave available to employees, and the policy satisfies one of several possible conditions. Under existing law, one of those conditions requires the employer to have provided paid sick leave or paid time off in a manner that results in an employee’s eligibility to earn at least 24 hours/three days of sick leave or paid time off within nine months of employment. SB 616 changes that condition so that the employee must be eligible to earn at least 40 hours/five days of paid sick leave or paid time off within six months of employment.
- The extension of paid sick leave provisions to employees covered by a collective bargaining agreement. Previously, employees who worked within a qualifying collective bargaining agreement with its own paid sick leave provisions were not covered by the paid sick leave law. Now, they will be.
- Preempting local ordinances with lesser minimums. SB 616 seeks to create a statewide standard. Thus, it will preempt any local city ordinances with less generous leave requirements than those provided in SB 616.
Employers should start revising their policies now to ensure compliance with the new changes beginning January 1, 2024. Employers should review written sick leave policies, employee handbooks, training materials, and any collective bargaining agreements that apply to their workforce. Managers, payroll, and human resources employees should be educated on these changes to ensure employees accrue paid sick leave appropriately and to ensure they answer employee questions correctly. Furthermore, for any employers that use outside payroll companies, they should ensure that the payroll companies are aware of these changes to avoid incorrect paid sick leave payments and wage statements.
- Related Practices