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California Adds Additional Paid Sick Leave Days to start Jan. 1, 2024

On October 4, 2023, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed legislation to expand workers’ paid sick leave. SB 616 by Senator Lena Gonzales (D-Long Beach) guarantees workers at least five paid sick days per year, up from the current three days, while also increasing the accrual and carryover amounts. The new law provides for forty hours, or five days in each year of employment, calendar year, or 12-month period beginning January 1, 2024.

Existing Law (Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act of 2014)

Existing law, the Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act of 2014 (act), establishes requirements relating to paid sick days and paid sick leave, including the following:

  1. Existing law, with certain exceptions, entitles an employee to paid sick days for certain purposes if the employee works in California for the same employer for 30 or more days within a year from the commencement of employment;

  2. Imposes procedural requirements on employers regarding the use of paid sick days, including by prohibiting retaliation for using paid sick days, by prohibiting the imposition of certain conditions on the use of paid sick days, and by requiring the use of paid sick days for specified health care and situations;

  3. Requires the leave to be accrued at a rate of no less than one hour for every 30 hours worked, and to be available for use beginning on the 90th day of employment;

  4. Authorizes an employer to use a different accrual method as long as an employee has no less than 24 hours of accrued sick leave or paid time off by the 120th calendar day of employment or each calendar year, or in each 12-month period;

  5. Provides that an employer may satisfy the accrual requirements by providing not less than 24 hours or 3 days of paid sick leave that is available to the employee to use by the completion of the employee’s 120th calendar day of employment.

Changes to the Law Under SB 616

The law, as amended, now includes the following:

  1. This bill modifies the employer’s alternate sick leave accrual method to additionally require that an employee have no less than 40 hours of accrued sick leave or paid time off by the 200th calendar day of employment or each calendar year, or in each 12-month period.

  2. The bill modifies that satisfaction provision to authorize an employer to satisfy accrual requirements by providing, in addition to the existing criteria for satisfaction above, not less than 40 hours or 5 days of paid sick leave that is available to the employee to use by the completion of the employee’s 200th calendar day of employment.

  3. Raise the employer’s authorized limitation on the use of carryover sick leave to 40 hours, or 5 days in each year of employment. The bill would redefine “full amount of leave” to mean 5 days or 40 hours;

  4. The employee must be eligible to earn at least 5 days or 40 hours of sick leave or paid time off within 6 months of employment; and

  5. Under existing law, an employer has no obligation under these provisions to allow an employee’s total accrual of paid sick leave to exceed 48 hours or 6 days, provided that an employee’s rights to accrue and use paid sick leave are not otherwise limited, as specified. This bill would increase those accrual thresholds for paid sick leave to 80 hours or 10 days.

Additional Bills Signed by the Governor on October 4, 2023:

In addition to signing this measure, the Governor also announced that he has signed the following bills:

  • AB 256 by Assemblymember Diane Dixon (R-Newport Beach) – Vehicles: registration.

  • AB 268 by Assemblymember Dr. Akilah Weber (D-San Diego) – Board of State and Community Corrections.

  • AB 298 by Assemblymember Devon Mathis (R-Porterville) – Honoring Our Blind Veterans Act.

  • AB 969 by Assemblymember Gail Pellerin (D-Santa Cruz) – Elections: voting systems.

  • AB 1270 by Assemblymember Diane Dixon (R-Newport Beach) – Redevelopment: successor agency: City of Lake Forest.

  • AB 1271 by Assemblymember Mike Gipson (D-Carson) – Gambling Control Act: licenses.

  • AB 1458 by Assemblymember Tri Ta (R-Westminster) – Common interest developments: association governance: member election.

  • AB 1471 by Assemblymember Gail Pellerin (D-Santa Cruz) – Hospitals: seismic compliance: O’Connor Hospital and Santa Clara Valley Medical Center.

  • SB 256 by Senator Bill Dodd (D-Napa) – Parklands: City of Davis.

  • SB 519 by Senator Toni G. Atkins (D-San Diego) – Corrections.

  • SB 548 by Senator Roger Niello (R-Fair Oaks) – Public employees’ retirement: joint county and trial court contracts.

  • SB 568 by Senator Josh Newman (D-Fullerton) – Electronic waste: export.

  • SB 617 by Senator Josh Newman (D-Fullerton) – Public contracts: progressive design-build: local and regional agencies: transit.

  • SB 883 by the Committee on Public Safety – Public Safety Omnibus.

  • SB 890 by the Committee on Governance and Finance – Property taxation: change of ownership and base year value transfers.

Now is the time to update your Employee Handbooks and policies for 2024.

For information on how to update your policies moving forward, and how to update the I-9 form for remote employees hired between March 2020 and July 31, 2023, please schedule a consultation with our employment attorneys, or call (949) 798-6298.

To learn more about ensuring your business is compliant with state and local laws, schedule a complimentary 15-minute consultation with The Grady Firm’s attorneys; call +1 (949) 798-6298; or fill out a Contact Request Form.

As outside counsel for growing and international companies with a presence in California, The Grady Firm attorneys provide the following services;

  • Assistance with interpreting COVID-19 legislation as it affects your business;

  • Counsel employers on staff changes and draft Notices of Reduced Hours, Furloughs, or Layoffs;

  • Draft Severance Agreements;

  • Act as I-9 agent and I-9 audit preparation or defense;

  • Employee v. independent contractor classification analysis;

  • Assistance with converting independent contractors to employees;

  • On-site, classroom-style Sexual Harassment training for employees and supervisors;

  • “Experiential” supervisor training in which managerial employees practice processing a harassment complaint and commencing an investigation in pairs with other trainees.

  • Draft and review Employee Handbooks, arbitration agreements, and Anti-Harassment policies;

  • Employee personnel file audits;

  • Litigation/labor claim defense.

The firm’s attorneys are licensed to practice employment law in California.

This article is for informational purposes only, and does not constitute legal advice or create an attorney-client relationship. This article does not make any guarantees as to the outcome of a particular matter, as each matter has its own set of circumstances and must be evaluated individually by a licensed attorney.


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