California lawmakers voted 52-25 to pass Assembly Bill 1522. Written by Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego), the bill would entitle most employees in California three days of paid sick leave to care for themselves, or for a family member. Governor Jerry Brown will more than likely sign the bill, given his official statement:
Tonight, the Legislature took historic action to help hardworking Californians. This bill guarantees that millions of workers – from Eureka to San Diego – won't lose their jobs or pay just because they get sick.
If or when Governor Brown does sign, the new law enacts the Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act, and will go into effect on July 1, 2015. Here's how it will affect California employers:
Employees who work 30 or more days within a year (part-time employees are also covered) of commencement of employment is entitled to one hour of paid sick time for every 30 hours worked.
Employees will accrue this time beginning on the 90th day of employment.
Employers can minimize paid sick time to 24 hours (or three days) per year.
Employers cannot retaliate against employees who request paid sick days.
Employers must post notices regarding this change in Labor Code.
Given that many employers already provide paid sick time, most will just have to post the appropriate notices and update their employee handbooks. But, for those employers who did not provide paid sick leave, this law represents a substantial change. If signed into law, California will be one of the first states to pass a paid sick leave law (Connecticut already has such a law).
The soon-to-be law would exclude some employees (e.g., employees covered under certain collective bargaining agreements). But it will affect restaurants, retailers and other businesses, including those that tend to hire more part-time employees.
Supporters for AB 1522 say about 40 percent of employees in California do not currently earn paid sick leave.