Amended by AB 304, signed by Governor Brown, July 13th, effective immediately!

Now that companies have clamored to update their paid sick leave policies to comply with the “The Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act of 2014”, the California legislature has graciously amended that law in ways that would have made life easier for employers had the amendments passed months ago.  The new bill AB 304, which was signed by Governor Brown very recently on July 13th and goes into effect immediately, amends the paid sick leave law in several ways:

  • When non-exempt employees use paid sick time, employers can pay that sick time at the employee’s “regular rate of pay.” The “regular rate of pay” is the rate that would be used by employers to determine overtime wages for the work week or pay period.  Employers can now use the “regular rate of pay” for the work week to pay sick time taken during that week, even if no overtime wages are paid in that week.  This simpler method of calculation can be used instead of averaging the last 90 days of wages to determine an hourly rate for paying sick time.
  • If an employer had a paid sick leave policy that was in effect prior to January 1, 2015, and provided at least 1 day or 8 hours of paid sick leave in each 3 month period of employment, and at least 3 days or 24 hours of paid sick leave within the first 9 months of each 12 month period, the employer is now permitted under AB 304 to continue to use the accrual rates provide by the old policy as long as the accrual rates are unchanged. Companies will still need to ensure the policy and their practices comply with other sections of the law, like allowable uses for paid sick leave, recordkeeping, and calculation of sick time pay.
  • An employer can have accrual rates that are different than 1 hour for every 30 hours worked, as long as accrual occurs on a “regular basis” (which is not defined) and provides the employee with no less than 24 hours of paid sick time by the 120th calendar day of employment within each calendar year or 12 month period.
  • The bill clarifies that, under the “front load” method (that allows for no carry over or accrual of paid sick time), 3 days or 24 hours of paid sick leave must be provided at the beginning of each calendar year, employment year, or 12 month period.
  • The bill states that when an employee is terminated and rehired within 12 months of termination, an employer does not have to reinstate that employee’s prior accrued sick time if it was fully paid to the employee at termination.

We are still analyzing AB 304 and are awaiting further guidance from the California Labor Commissioner on how the new provisions will be enforced and interpreted by it moving forward.  Please watch for future alerts from our office and contact us if you have any questions.


By:   Brian E. Ewing, Esq.
Landegger Baron Law Group, ALC