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California Implements New Sick Leave Law in 2015

by Vita, on December 10, 2014


This is a reminder to all California employers that the new sick leave law – Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act of 2014 (AB 1522) or HWHF - becomes effective in 2015.  Even though it doesn’t become effective until July 1, 2015, you may need to get ready. Learn more...



  • Employer Size – doesn’t matter.

  • Employer Type – All public and private employers, with a few exceptions:

    • Union Employees with a contract that provides sick leave (check with your Union representative and review your collective bargaining agreement)

    • Construction Employees covered by a valid union contract

    • Employees who provide in-home support services covered under the Welfare and Institutions Code

    • Certain air carrier employees

Check with your legal counsel if you are uncertain if you meet one of the ‘exceptions’ under HWHF.



Eligibility – Both part time and full time employees are entitled to the sick leave benefit if they’ve worked in California for 30 or more days within a year of their employment.  Exempt and non-exempt employees are covered.

Accruals start on first day of work or July 1, 2015 – whichever is later.  Employees can start to use their accrued sick leave after 90 days of employment. 

  • Accrual & Carryover - Employers must accrue sick pay at a rate of 'not less than one hour per every 30 hours worked'.   For employees working 40 hours a week, that’s a minimum of 69.33 hours or 9 days per year (rounding up). 

    • Employers may cap sick leave at 6 (six) days or 48 hours per year.   Employees can’t accrue more sick leave until some of the ‘banked’ leave is used.

    • Employers may also limit the use of sick leave to three (3) days or 24 hours per year.

    • Employers can limit carryover to three (3) days or 24 hours per year.

IMPORTANT NOTE:  Employers ARE permitted to have more generous sick leave plans.

  • Sick Time Uses – Employees are permitted to use sick time for their own illness, or for a family member (parent, child, spouse, registered domestic partner, grandparent, grandchild or sibling).  In addition to illness, time off can also be used for preventive care.

Employers are not required to pay employees for accrued sick leave upon termination.



  1. You will need to provide employees with a written notice of the amount of sick time available each pay period beginning July 1, 2015. 

  2. The Wage and Employment Notice – which has been a requirement since 2012 – must be modified to include new sick leave language.   You can find this Notice on the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE) website at

  3. Employers are required to display a poster.  Poster templates are available from the DLSE at

IMPORTANT NOTE:  If you are an employer with a more generous sick leave policy in place, you will want to modify the DLSE posting template to reflect your organization’s sick leave provisions.

  1. Employers are also required to keep records for at least three years of sick leave accruals and usage for each employee.

  2. If you are a San Diego or San Francisco employer you may already be subject to sick leave requirements that are more generous than the HWHF and the more generous law should be followed.



While Vita doesn’t provide legal advice, we want to assist you with the information you need to ensure that your employee benefit policies for the upcoming year include this new requirement.  We advise that you contact your legal counsel if you have any questions regarding implementation of the HWHF in 2015.