Do you have California employees' Compliance with California's paid sick leave laws just became more complicated'

August 25, 2016

Employers with employees in California will recall the enactment of California’s Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act of 2014 (the “California statute”), which has required employers to provide paid sick leave to nearly all California employees since 2015. Compliance with the California statute just became more complicated with the recent enactments of several local paid sick leave ordinances. Los Angeles and San Diego have now joined cities like San Francisco, Oakland, and Emeryville on the growing list of California municipalities that have enacted paid sick leave ordinances, and Santa Monica will join that list in 2017. The Los Angeles and San Diego ordinances took effect in July 2016 (with further changes to the San Diego ordinance taking effect on September 2, 2016 pursuant to San Diego’s implementing ordinance approved on August 3, 2016). This alert will focus on some of the key differences between the California statute, the Los Angeles ordinance, and the San Diego ordinance (as updated effective September 2, 2016).

Because each ordinance differs in some respects from the California statute, employers with employees in the affected cities should closely review and update their policies, handbooks, posters, new hire paperwork, payroll systems, and record-keeping systems to ensure they are in compliance with not only the state statutory requirements, but also the requirements of any applicable local ordinance. Drafting a policy that comports with both the California statute and one or more of the local ordinances is more easily said than done. As a general rule, where a conflict exists between the California statute and a local ordinance on a given point, employers should follow the law that is more generous to employees, so it is important to be aware of the ways in which the California statute and the local ordinances differ. Compliance with all applicable laws becomes particularly onerous for employers with employees in multiple affected cities, as these employers are faced with the task of either designing one compliant omnibus paid sick leave policy for all California employees, or instead creating multiple paid sick leave policies that are location-dependent.

To read the full alert, click on the PDF linked below.

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