California Expands Paid Sick Leave starting January 1, 2024

The California (CA) legislature passed S.B. 616, which expanded the State’s existing paid sick leave mandate, the Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act of 2014, in significant ways.

The bill increases paid sick leave from three days to five days for qualified CA workers. The law takes effect on January 1, 2024.

What is it? SB 616 is an amendment to the current CA labor code that increases paid sick leave for qualified workers from three days to five days per year. Additionally, the following changes were made:

  • Covered employees must accrue at least five days or 40 hours of leave by the 200th day of employment (current law requires three days or 24 hours within 120 days of employment).
  • Standard accrual is still 1 hour per 30 hours worked. Optional method of accruing hours is acceptable as long as a covered employee has no less than five days or 40 hours of accrued paid sick leave by the 200th day of employment or each calendar year or other 12-month period.

Which employers must comply? All employers with workers in CA.

What if an employer already has PTO or a similar leave policy in place? There is no requirement to have a separate paid sick leave benefit if the current policy has the same or more generous conditions as the current law.

Can employers front load the five days of sick leave? Yes, the same as before in that if the employer front loads the paid sick leave, no accrual or carryover of unused time is required.

However, if an employer uses the accrual method instead of front loading, the amendment requires the employer to increase the accrual and carryover cap to ten days or 80 hours (increased from six days or 48 hours).

What should employers do next? Update your sick leave policies to comply with the increase in hours and be sure to distribute to employees by January 1, 2024.

A new CA Paid Sick Leave poster will be available soon on the CA Department of Industrial Relations website.



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About Michelle Cammayo, Compliance National Practice Leader, Employee Benefits

Michelle Cammayo has close to 20 years of Employee Benefits experience specializing in all lines of health and welfare benefits. Today, Michelle works closely with clients and partners to provide guidance in areas of the law including ERISA, HIPAA, COBRA, FMLA and PPACA. She is also the IMA National Practice Leader for Compliance and endeavors to ensure IMA helps its clients manage and eliminate risk is the most effective manner. She is passionate about educating others and her passion for this shined in the Covid era where Michelle conducted weekly and then monthly webinars providing guidance to employers. Her podcast, Cammayo’s Compliance Talk, has gained popularity in the last three years to become a favorite amongst Bolton clients. She also contributes regularly to the Bolton blog and has authored several articles for industry-related newsletters. Michelle’s consultative approach with employers provides practical advice as employers endeavor to be complaint.

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