California Employment Law Update | San Francisco Employee Benefits


Paid Sick Leave

On September 10, 2014, California Governor Jerry Brown signed the Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act (A.B. 1522), which provides California workers with paid sick leave.

The law applies to employers that have at least one employee who works more than 30 days in a year in the state of California. All employees who work more than 30 days in a year in California are covered, except:

  • Employees covered by a valid collective-bargaining agreement that provides paid leave and has other required provisions.
  • Employees in the construction industry covered by a valid collective-bargaining agreement.
  • Providers of in-home supportive services.
  • Individuals employed by an air carrier as a flight deck or cabin crew member (provided they receive compensated time off).

Pursuant to the law, beginning on July 1, 2015 employees will accrue one hour of sick time for every 30 hours worked. Employees who are exempt from overtime requirements (administrative, executive, or professional employees under a wage order) are deemed to work 40 hours per workweek, unless the employee’s normal workweek is less than 40 hours, in which case the employee will accrue paid sick days based upon the normal workweek.

Employees are entitled to use accrued paid sick time beginning on the 90th day of employment, after which day the employee may use paid sick time as it is accrued. Accrued paid sick time will carry over to the following year of employment.

Employees may use paid sick time for the diagnosis, care, or treatment of an existing health condition of, or preventive care for, an employee or an employee’s family member. It may also be used if the employee is a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking.

The law also prohibits employers from discriminating or retaliating against an employee who requests paid sick days. In addition, employers will have to meet certain posting, notice, and record keeping requirements.

The law goes into effect on July 1, 2015.

Read 2014 CA A.B. 1522
Employment Protections for Unpaid Interns

On September 9, 2014, California Governor Jerry Brown signed legislation (A.B. 1443) expanding employment law protections to unpaid interns.

The California Fair Employment and Housing Act — which applies to employers, labor organizations, employment agencies, and certain training programs — prohibits employment discrimination and harassment on the basis of race, religious creed, color, national origin, ancestry, physical disability, mental disability, medical condition, genetic information, marital status, sex, gender, gender identity, gender expression, age, sexual orientation, or military and veteran status. This bill expands the protections above to persons in apprenticeship training programs, other training programs leading to employment, unpaid internships, and other limited duration programs where the person is providing unpaid work.

The law goes into effect on January 1, 2015.

Read 2014 CA A.B. 1443
Sexual Harassment Training – Abusive Conduct

On September 9, 2014, California Governor Jerry Brown signed legislation (A.B. 2053) amending state law regarding sexual harassment training and education.

Existing California law requires employers with 50 or more employees to provide at least two hours of sexual harassment training and education to all supervisory employees at least once every two years. This bill requires that the training and education also cover the prevention of “abusive conduct.”

Abusive conduct means conduct of an employer or employee in the workplace, with malice, that a reasonable person would find hostile, offensive, and unrelated to an employer’s legitimate business interests. Abusive conduct may include repeated infliction of verbal abuse, such as the use of derogatory remarks, insults, and epithets; verbal or physical conduct that a reasonable person would find threatening, intimidating, or humiliating; or the gratuitous sabotage or undermining of a person’s work performance. A single act will not constitute abusive conduct, unless especially severe and egregious.

The law goes into effect on January 1, 2015.

Read 2014 CA A.B. 2053

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