California Mandatory Sick Leave Frequently Asked Questions (Updated)
Back in our February newsletter, we posted a list of frequently asked questions from the state of California’s website about the mandatory sick leave law. Since then, our clients have asked specific questions about the law that have came up over and over. Check through the list of most frequently asked questions about the Healthy Workplace Healthy Family act from our clients below, and feel free to email any other questions you may have to email@example.com. For additional resources, including a PowerPoint presentation and webinar recording about the sick leave law, click here.
Q1.I have a policy that exceeds the requirements. All employees received their Sick hours in January and have already used them all. Do I have to give them more in July? (Employees will receive hours again in January, 2016)
Answer: If the employee was accruing at least 1 hour for every 30 worked, or received at least 24 up front, and that occurred prior to 7/1/15 and in the current 2015 calendar year, then NO, the employer does not have to give it again 7/1/15. They have met the requirement even if the employee already used it. The law is that they begin or comply with a method by 7/1/15, this is “the entitlement” portion of the law. The actual full law became effective 1/1/15.
Q2. If I choose the accrual method, how will it work? My pay period is 6/22/15 – 7/6/15 but the accrual starts 7/1/15, how will we split hours?
Answer: TelePayroll will not split pay periods to accommodate an exact 7/1 date. If you choose the accrual method we will begin with the pay period that includes 7/1 but will include the entire pay period payroll hours as the impact is minimal.
Q3. How does the probationary period work? Does it start 7/1/15?
Answer: The 90 day probationary period applies from the date of hire, not 7/1/15. Employees accrue immediately beginning 7/1/15. The probationary period only applies on usage. Employers do not have to allow an employee to use the hours during the probationary period but the employees must still accrue during this time.
Q4. Does the sick pay balance have to be on the check stub during the probationary period?
Answer: Yes, the available balance must be on the stub even if the employee is in the probationary period.
Q5. I don’t want my accruals to be part of my payroll, I keep track separately. Are there any alternatives to showing the balances on the check stub?
Answer: Yes. In lieu of showing balances on the check stub, you can provide each employee a written notice of the hours they have available each and every pay day.
Q6. I am the owner of my company, I pay myself as an employee but do not have any other employees. Do I really have to give myself this?
Answer: Yes. There is no exception for Officers/Owners, nothing is published or indicated in the full text of the law.
Q7. The new law only affects W2 employees, correct?
Answer: Yes, this is correct. 1099 Sub-Contractors are not employees and are not covered by AB 1522.
Q8. What about salaried employees under the accrual method? We don’t record hours for salaried employees, how will they accrue based on hours worked?
Answer: TelePayroll recommends the front loading method for salaried employees for administrative ease only. You can have a separate policy for your full-time and part-time workers, this is an allowable option. If you choose the accrual method then under the accrual method, employers will have to record hours. TelePayroll can add “Standard Hours” for salaried employees based on your pay period.
As an example, a salaried employee on a semi-monthly pay period is assumed to have worked 86.67 hours. Payroll can be setup this way for salaried workers and the hours will be recorded automatically without any input necessary on the client’s part. To use Standard Hours the salaried employees must not be assigned an hourly rate.
Q9. Can we keep our current policies in place for permanent employees and have a separate policy for temporary and on-call workers?
Answer: Yes. Employers can have separate policies for different “classes” of employees. An example would be a F/T policy and a P/T policy, or a Salaried policy and an Hourly policy. Employers should apply policies uniformly within each class to avoid the sometimes grey area of discrimination.
Q10. Should we be tracking potential sick time accruals from the beginning of employment even for employees that work less than 30 days in case they do go over the 30 day?
Answer: You don’t have to but it is a good idea. If you are certain an employee won’t work more than 30 days then you don’t really have to track. It’s 30 days just to be an eligible employee; it is 90 days probation before you have to allow use.
Q11. Do we need to show sick time accrual on the pay stub for employees who work fewer than 30 days per year, even if they won’t be eligible to use it?
Answer: No, but you can. You don’t because the employee isn’t even eligible to accrue if they don’t work 30 days.
Q12. Why do I have to allow employees to accrue up to 48 hours and carry over if I only have to allow them to use 24 hours in a year?
Answer: Because that is how the legislation was written and the law does not provide an explanation. The government answer to this question is simply that “… the accrual, use, and eligibility portion of AB1522 are 3 separate items that are not contingent on each other for compliance…”
Q13. I have employees that are paid strictly commission with no base pay, hourly rate, or scheduled hours of work. How many hours should they be paid when they are sick and at what rate of pay?
Answer: This actually works the same way as any wage conversion, it’s the same as what employers are supposed to do to make sure they are paying at least minimum wage although with sick pay there is a 90 day period to average the pay. Regardless if the employee is commission, piecework, or even works multiple pay rates, the employer must establish an hourly rate;
1- The employer takes all of the employees’ wages from the preceding 90 days
2- The employer divides the total wages by the total hours the employee worked
3- Regardless of how they are paid, they did actually work a specific number of hours whether tracked or not.
The sum is the rate of pay that the sick leave hours should be paid at.
As far as how many hours to pay these types of employees for their time off;
1- The employee chooses how many hours they will take, the employer can only specify that it has to be a 2 hour minimum
2- Under the front loading method, the employer is only obligated to pay 24 hours. If the employee takes 2 ten hour sick days, they will only have 4 hours left and that is all they have to be given.
Q14. I have employees in San Francisco. Does San Francisco have different rules?
Answer; Yes, and their rules supersede the State rules. Some of the key differences are as follows;
The accrual can be capped at 72, not 48 for employers with more than 10 employees.