While most California employers are aware of the Paid Sick Leave law that went into effect as of July 1st, 2015, some may be surprised to learn that there are also several cities in California with their own minimum wage and Paid Sick Leave laws* – and some have provisions that are more generous than the state mandate. This becomes important if employers are sending employees out to work offsite – if they are performing work in any of the cities with Sick Leave ordinances, they will need to earn additional sick time per those cities’ provisions.
The cities with their own Paid Sick Leave ordinances currently in effect (and have differing minimum wages) are Santa Monica, San Francisco, Oakland and Emeryville. San Diego also has a proposed minimum wage hike and Paid Sick Leave law that will be up for a vote in the next election.
Hours worked in each of these cities will need to be tracked and sick time accrued for those hours, based on the provisions of each mandate.
How are the cities’ ordinances similar to the state Paid Sick Leave? While each city’s provisions are slightly different, the accrual amounts echo the state provision of 1 hour earned for every 30 hours worked. Unused Paid Sick Time rolls over each year and is not paid out upon termination.
How do they differ? There are nuances to each city’s Paid Sick Time laws but one thing they have in common is that the alternate “up-front” method of granting sick time that the state law allows is not permissible (i.e. giving all employees 24 hours each January 1st or 12 month period.) This means that if you have an employee currently receiving his or her 24 sick time hours at the beginning of each year but spends time working in one of the cities with its own ordinance, he or she will also need to accrue time for hours worked in that city.
Each city also has its own eligibility accrual caps and usage limits. The state law caps accrual at 48 hours; Emeryville, for example, has different caps for small and large employers. While state law allows employers to limit usage to 24 hours during the plan period, the Oakland provision, for example, has no limit on usage. And while most cities echo the state waiting period to use time (90 days) San Francisco removed that waiting period and employees working in that city can use their sick time immediately.
Having employees based in or working in one of the above cities will prompt updates to Employee Handbooks, labor law postings and payroll processes. As soon as you become aware of any employees working in these cities, please contact your payroll specialist and HR consultant as soon as possible to ensure you stay in compliance with minimum wage and Paid Sick Leave provisions for which they are eligible.
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