SickOn August 30, 2014, California Governor Gerry Brown issued a statement in favor of a bill that requires California employers to provide up to three (3) days of paid sick leave annually to each of their employees.  In a press release issued on Saturday evening, Governor Brown said that the bill, which has already been approved by California’s legislature and is headed to the Governor’s desk for signature, “guarantees that millions of workers – from Eureka to San Diego – won’t lose their jobs or pay just because they get sick.”

Assembly Bill 1522, authored by Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez (D – San Diego), is titled the “Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act of 2014,” and adds sections 245 through 249 to the state’s Labor Code. The bill provides that, starting July 1, 2015, most employees who work in California will be entitled to paid sick days, regardless of the size of the employer.  Employees may use these sick days for the “diagnosis, care, or treatment” of their own health condition or that of a family member as well as to attend to issues that arise when they are victims of domestic violence.  The bill does not apply to certain employees, including in-home caregivers and unionized employees who are covered by a collective bargaining agreement that meets a number of requirements.

To qualify, an employee need only work in California for thirty (30) or more days within a year from the commencement of employment. Each employee’s sick days will accrue at a rate of at least one hour for every 30 hours worked, and the employee is entitled to use accrued sick days beginning on the 90th day of employment.  Employers are allowed, however, to limit an employee’s use of paid sick days to twenty-four (24) hours – three (3) days – in each year of employment and may cap the employee’s accrual at forty-eight (48) hours – six (6) days.

It is also worth noting that the bill creates “a rebuttable presumption of unlawful retaliation if an employer denies an employee the right to use accrued sick days.”