(Photo) Sick PhoneBy Kristina Launey

On March 26, 2015, Assembly Member Lorena Gonzalez – the author of California’s Paid Sick Leave law, the Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act of 2014 (the “Act”) – introduced amendments to that law. The vehicle for those amendments, Assembly Bill 304, was re-referred to the Assembly Committee on Labor and Employment to be set for hearing.

The bill would amend Labor Code sections 245.5, 246, and 248.5, to make the following changes to the Act:

  • Require that an employee work for the same employer for 30 or more days within the previous 12 months to qualify for paid sick leave under the Act.
  • Regarding the definitions in the Act:
    • Exclude a retired annuitant of a public entity and a worker covered by the Railroad Unemployment Insurance Act, as specified, from the definition of employee.Remove the definition of health care provider.
    • Authorize an employer to provide for sick leave accrual on a basis other than one hour for each 30 hours worked, provided that the accrual is on a regular basis and the employee will have at least 24 hours of paid sick leave accrued by the 120th calendar day of employment.
  • Clarify that no accrual or carry over is required if employees receive the full amount of paid sick leave at the beginning of each calendar year, year of employment, or 12-month basis, rather than the previous ambiguous reference to simply “year.”
  • Permit an employer that provides unlimited sick leave to its employees to satisfy notice requirements by indicating “unlimited” on the employee’s itemized wage statement.
  • Delete the current rate of pay provision in Section 246(k), and instead provide that if the employee receives different hourly rates when the accrued sick leave is taken, then the rate of pay would be calculated in the same manner as the regular rate of pay for purposes of overtime.
  • Provide that an employer is not required to reinstate accrued paid time off to an employee who is rehired within one year of separation from employment, that was paid out at the time of termination, resignation, or separation.
  • From Section 248.5(e), remove “any person” with respect to enforcement of the Act’s provisions, which would likely remove concern that a private right of action exists.
  • Make other “technical and conforming changes.”

But the bill contains no urgency clause—which would be necessary for the amendments to take effect prior to the effective date of July 1, 2015 that applies to the bulk of the Act’s rights and obligations. Unless later amendments add an urgency clause (as they should), the contemplated amendments to the bill won’t take effect until January 1, 2016.

We’ll continue to follow this bill as it moves through the legislative process and keep you updated. For background on the Act, see our prior blog posts here and here.