Employer Notice Obligations Under California's New Paid Sick Leave Law

Cooley Alert

As we previously reported, the California Legislature passed the Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act of 2014, which requires that companies provide their employees working 30 or more days a year in California with at least 3 days (or 24 hours) of paid sick leave per year, starting July 1, 2015.

Even though the obligation to provide sick leave does not begin until July 1, 2015, employers should already be displaying in a conspicuous place in the workplace the poster developed by the Labor Commissioner informing employees of their rights under the new law. The new poster is available here.

The Labor Commissioner has also issued a revised Notice to Employees under the Wage Theft Prevention Act (codified at Labor Code section 2810.5). The Wage Theft Prevention Act requires that all non-exempt employees be given a notice about their wages and other employment-related information at the time of hire and within seven days of any changes. The Notice to Employees under the Act has been revised to inform employees about their entitlement to sick leave, and to provide information about any new or previously existing sick leave policy. The revised notice is available here.

The Labor Commissioner has clarified, in answers to Frequently Asked Questions on the new sick leave law available here, that new employees hired on or after January 1, 2015 must be given the updated Wage Theft Protection Act notice at the time of hire. For employees hired prior to January 1, 2015, the notice must be given within seven days of the date that a new sick plan is implemented or, if the employer's existing sick leave or paid time off ("PTO") policy remains unchanged, no later than July 8, 2015 (seven days after the sick leave entitlement goes into effect). Employers need not use the Labor Commissioner's form notice, as long as employees are given a writing that summarizes the employer's sick leave policy and contains the same paid sick leave information as in the Labor Commissioner's revised form. Although the Wage Theft Prevention Act's notice requirements do not apply to employees who are exempt from overtime, employers are encouraged to ensure that all employees are made aware of the law and how the company intends to comply.

The time for providing paid sick leave is just around the corner. Companies that have not already done so should review and revise their existing sick leave or PTO policies for compliance with the new law. To discuss these issues further or pose questions about this Alert, please contact one of the attorneys shown.

Related Contacts
Lois Voelz  Senior Counsel Palo Alto
Wendy Brenner  Partner Palo Alto, Los Angeles – Santa Monica
Leslie Cancel  Special Counsel San Francisco
Joshua Mates  Partner San Francisco
Frederick Baron  Senior Counsel Palo Alto
Elizabeth Lewis  Senior Counsel Washington, DC, Reston
Michael Sheetz  Partner Boston
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Employment & Labor