“Save Ferris” and Your Time Off, Part 2:
Last week we focused on the Family Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”) and how that might be an avenue for parents to step away from their busy lives at work in order to enjoy significant happy life events such as the births or to manage difficult family crises such as tending to ailing family members. But how do we as busy parents handle the common cold or the flu? Many of us just simply tough it out. “I don’t have time to be sick,” we tell ourselves. But what happens when our kids get sick? It is not so easy to just “tough it out,” and we certainly do not force that message on them. Instead, we stay home to care for them, bring them to the pediatrician when necessary, and give them the “TLC” they need and we really want to give. This works just fine if you are lucky enough to work for a company or government agency that offers paid sick leave in good quantity. But not every parent had that luxury as not every employer offered paid sick leave, only offered it if the employee (not a family member) was sick, or only offered limited paid sick hours. So you see, a child’s runny nose, cough, or fever could in some cases offered a Mom or Dad a Hobson’s Choice: stay home with the sick child and not earn money for the family or go to work to earn money for the family only to leave their sick child suffering and yearning for Mom or Dad. This was a difficult choice for most families, and for some a disastrous one.
We are happy to report that the Healthy Workplaces/Healthy Families Act of 2014 has rid California employees of having to make that untenable choice. As of July 1, 2015, every employee who works in California for thirty (30) or more days within a year from the beginning of employment is entitled to paid sick leave.
How much paid sick time do I get?
Paid sick leave accrues at the rate of one hour per every thirty (30) hours worked, paid at the employee’s regular wage rate. An employee begins accruing sick leave hours on the first day of employment or July 1, 2015, whichever is later. Paid sick leave also shall carry over to the following year of employment and may be capped at six (6) days or forty-eight (48) hours. However, subject to specified conditions, if an employer has a paid sick leave, paid leave or paid time off policy (PTO) that provides no less than 24 hours or three days of paid leave or paid time off, no accrual or carry over is required if the full amount of leave is received at the beginning of each year in accordance with the policy.
How does it work?
An employee may use accrued paid sick days beginning on the ninetieth (90th) day of employment. An employer must provide paid sick days upon the oral or written request of an employee and the reason for the requested sick day is now much more expansive. The law expressly allows an employee to request a paid sick day for themselves or a family member for the diagnosis, care or treatment of an existing health condition or preventive care, or specified purposes for an employee who is a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking. An employer may limit the use of paid sick days to twenty-four (24) hours or three days in each year of employment.
Is it still a “faux-pas” to take a sick day?
No. Under the new law, employees also enjoy greater protection from employers when it comes to taking paid sick days. Retaliation or discrimination against an employee who requests paid sick days or uses paid sick days or both is strictly prohibited. An employee can file a complaint with the Labor Commissioner against an employer who retaliates or discriminates against the employee.
If you have questions or concerns regarding these changes and new mandates in sick-leave policy you can read about them on the sick leave poster your employer is required to hang up at your or please read this article.
Additionally, do not hesitate to contact us. Snyder Law continues its commitment to supporting our family of clients by helping them best support their own families on a day-to-day basis and in the future. We strive to be the trusted legal counsel our clients can turn to no matter what comes their way. If you are not yet part of the Snyder Law client family and would like a trusted advisor by your side, consider starting with a Family Estate Planning Session during which we will guide you to be more financially and personally organized than you’ve ever been before.