Since 2014, California law has required that nearly all California employers provide no less than 3 days or 24 hours of paid sick leave (“PSL”) to their employees. For 2024, California employers will now be required to provide more PSL to its California workforce. Employers can satisfy their PSL obligation in two ways – frontload method or accrual method.
The Amendments to the PSL law modifies the existing law in numerous respects. Specifically:
- The Amendments increase the annual amount of PSL an employee is entitled to under either the frontload or accrual method from 24 hours or three days to 40 hours or five days;
- Accrual Method: Although accrual under the California PSL law generally calls for an accrual rate of one hour for every 30 hours worked, the current law permits employers to use a different accrual method as long as the employee receives no less than 24 hours of accrued paid sick leave by their 120th calendar day of employment and in each calendar year. The amendments afford employers an alternative to the 1 for 30 accrual method, but with a caveat. Specifically, in addition to ensuring that employees accrue at least 24 hours of PSL by their 120th calendar day of employment, employees must also accrue at least 40 hours of PSL by their 200th calendar day of employment. For each benefit year after the first year of employment, employees must accrue at least 40 hours of paid sick leave per year;
- The Amendments increase the number of days of carried over PSL an employee can use each year from 24 hours or three days to 40 hours or five days.
- The Amendments Increase the cap on an employee’s accrual of PSL from 48 hours or six days to 80 hours or 10 days. Employers can avoid the accrual and carryover requirements by providing a frontload of paid sick leave at the beginning of each benefit year. Specifically, beginning January 1, 2024 employers who want to avoid accrual and carryover of paid sick leave will need to grant new hires at least 40 hours or five days (whichever is greater) of paid sick leave upon hire that is available to use by their 90th calendar day of employment, and then at the beginning of each subsequent benefit year.
- The Amendments extend certain procedural and anti-retaliation provisions of existing law to employees who are covered by a valid collective bargaining agreement that provides for different paid sick leave obligations; and
- The Amendments preempt any local cities’ PSL ordinances with less generous leave requirements to establish the state-wide minimums described above.
Employer Action Item: Review existing sick leave or PTO policies and practices, including those in a California locality with a separate local paid sick leave mandate, and either implement new policies and practices or revise existing policies and practices to ensure compliance with the amendments.