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March 3, 2015

CA DLSE Issues New Guidance on Paid Sick Leave

The California Department of Industrial Relations Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE) has updated it Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) on its Healthy Workplace Healthy Family Act of 2014 (AB 1522) web page.  The following question and answers may have particular applicability to employees who work 10–hour days under Wage Order 14.

Q: What if I work an alternative work schedule of four 10-hour days and I take paid sick leave. How much should I be paid?

A: The paid sick leave law allows the employee to decide how much paid leave time to take, subject to the employer's ability to set a two hour minimum. Therefore, if you have ten hours in your bank, you can request to be paid for ten hours. If you decide to take less time than that in paid sick leave, then you will not receive your full pay but instead, pay for the number of hours that you choose to take. If you are sick for three days and have accrued 24 hours then your employer will have to pay you for 24 hours. However, if you have accrued 30 hours then because the minimum requirements of the statute are 3 days or 24 hours, you will have to be paid for 30 hours.

It is likely that the DLSE would interpret the AB 1522 to require all employees who regularly work 10- hour days to be paid up to 30 hours (i.e., 3 days) of paid sick leave in a calendar year if they have accrued that many hours.

However, under such an interpretation, employees who work fewer than 10 (or even eight) hours in a day, may only be entitled to the number of hours the employee would have otherwise worked on that workday. For example, if an employee missed three days and the employee would have worked 21 hours during that period, the employee would be entitled to 21 hours of paid sick leave. It is recommended that employers add this sentence to their paid sick leave policies:

“An employee may use available PSL up to the number of hours the employee would have otherwise worked on that workday.”

For more information, read the Paid Sick Leave FAQ on the Department of Industrial Relations website, or contact WG’s Jason Resnick at 949-885-2253.