On October 4, 2023, Governor Gavin Newsom signed an increase to the current California Sick Leave Law (SB 616).
Effective January 1, 2024, employers must increase the amount of sick leave provided to California employees from three days/24 hours to five days/40 hours.
Accrual, Carryover and Frontload
Under this new update, employers who permit employees to accrue paid sick leave (PSL) must ensure that the rate of accrual will provide employees with no less than five days/40 hours of PSL by the 200th calendar day of employment or each calendar year.
This update also has an increase of the annual accrual cap of ten days/80 hours when employees accrue PSL.
Alternately, an employer may satisfy the requirements of the statute by front-loading three days/24 hours of PSL by the 120th day of employment, and five days/40 hours of PSL by the 200th day of employment. For ease of accounting, Guardian HR recommends front loading PSL by day one, with use limited to day 90, or front load at day 90 for all employees.
This change also increases the amount of PSL that an employee may use in each year of employment, calendar year, or 12-month period, from three days/24 hours to five days/40 hours.
Partial Preemption of Local Standards
Although there are a few instances in which an employer might need to determine whether state or local law provides the more beneficial pay rate calculation and apply that standard when compensating an employee when they use PSL, state law already is often the more employee-friendly calculation.
For employers whose PSL benefits do not already meet, or exceed, the California’s amended requirements, there remains limited time to review and revise policies and practices, adjust payroll standards, and educate employees on enhanced benefits or protections.
The eight local jurisdictions with existing PSL ordinances do not have a lot of time to determine whether, and how, to respond to the California Sick Leave law’s partial preemption. All of those municipalities, of course, will be looking for guidance from the state labor department, which itself will be pressed for time to educate stakeholders on how this enacted bill, and countless others new or amended laws, will impact the Golden State in 2024.
Please reach out to your dedicated HR Manager and see our Forms Library for updated policies.