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CA – Sick Leave Law by State

The California Healthy Workplace Healthy Family Act

The California Healthy Workplace Healthy Family Act requires employers to provide paid sick leave to employees who, on or after July 1, 2015, work in California for 30 or more days within a year from the beginning of employment. Employees, including full-time, part-time and temporary employees, will earn at least one hour of paid leave for every 30 hours worked. The sick time begins to accrue on the first day of employment or July 1, 2015, whichever is the later of the two.

While the funding and payment of sick leave is the responsibility of the production company employer, your payroll service should be able to account for such time based on the payroll records for the affected personnel. Media Services provides such tracking to our clients; for more information on our payroll services, click here.

Basic Facts of the Act

Employees may begin to use accrued sick time on the 90th day of employment. An employer must allow eligible employees to use the accrued paid sick leave upon reasonable request. However, if an employee has a need to use their accrued sick leave, and it was unforeseeable, the employee need only give notice as soon as practicable. The Act states that an employee cannot be required to find a replacement as a condition for using paid sick leave. Furthermore, the Act states that an employer may limit the amount of paid sick leave an employee can use in one year to 24 hours or three days. The accrued sick leave may be carried over to the following year, but an employer can cap it at 48 hours or six days.

If an employee with an accrual is no longer employed by that employer, they do not need to be paid out for the unused accrual, unless the employer has a policy that provides for a payout. Should an employee leave an employer where that employee had an unused accrual balance, and that employee returns to work for that same employer within 12 months, the employee can reclaim what was left in their accrual bank.

We Track the Sick Leave for You

Employers are required to show how many days of sick leave an employee has available, on a pay stub or other document issued with the pay stub. Media Services will programmatically track the accruals for your personnel paid through our payroll companies, as well as will reflect the available days of sick leave on the pay stubs as required by the law.

The law requires that the employer keep records showing how many hours have been earned and used for a minimum of three years.

If an employee works for more than one of our production company clients in a given year, the sick leave will be tracked per employee per production company client. The employee accrues one hour of sick leave for every 30 hours (both straight and overtime) worked per production company employer. The accrued hours are only paid out when the employee has to take a partial or full day of sick leave during the workday. Production will need to note on the timecard if it is a full day of sick leave, and if partial, the timecard should reflect the In and Out times for the partial workday, with a note to indicate the number of hours of sick leave that were taken. Those hours will be paid and invoiced at the employee’s straight time rate.

What You Need To Do

Employers are required to display a poster on paid sick leave where their employees can easily read it. The poster required and provided by the California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement can be found here.

Additionally, employers are required to provide workers with written notice at the time of hire regarding their sick leave rights. The California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement provides an employee notice template on their site; Media Services has our own notice form here.

There are exceptions that apply to the Act, including, but not limited to, if an employer already provides its employees with at least 24 hours per year of paid leave that can be used for healthcare and meets other requirements in the Act, the employer need not provide additional sick time.

The Act does not apply to employees covered by a valid collective bargaining agreement (‘CBA’) that waives the provisions of the Act and/or provides for compensated time off at least equivalent to the requirements of the new law. However, please note that the AICP has determined that the four principal CBAs used by the commercial industry in California do not provide the necessary provisions to exempt commercial production companies from the Act. You can read the AICP’s assessment here.

The State of California Department of Industrial Relations, Division of Labor Standards Enforcement, Office of the Labor Commissioner, is responsible for enforcing the Act. Media Services is not in a position to provide you with legal or benefits-related advice concerning the application of the Act to your company. This advisory addresses what we consider some of the key points under the Act, but should not be construed as a full accounting of the Act. For more detailed information, please visit the Department’s page about it here.

We strongly urge you to consult with your advisers to obtain advice about the applicability of the Act to your company and the scope of your company’s obligations, so that you can plan accordingly. If your company has a current paid or unpaid time off policy, we also recommend speaking with your advisers to determine whether or not your policies comply with the Act.