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A bill is wending its way through the California Legislature that would require all employers, large and small, to provide their employees with paid sick leave benefits.

AB 1522 provides for statutory penalties and the possibility of litigation for employers that violate the law.

California businesses do not have to provide paid sick leave to employees. In recent years, paid sick leave has become a priority for labor groups, and their efforts have paid off in some cities.

In 2006, San Francisco passed a law requiring all businesses to provide sick days to all employees who work in the city – the first law of its kind in the nation. Since then, a number of cities throughout the country have followed suit, including Seattle, New York and Portland, Oregon. Connecticut was the first state to enact a statewide paid sick leave law.

In particular, AB 1522 would require that:

  • An employee who works in California for seven or more days in a calendar year would be entitled to paid sick days, to be accrued at a rate of no less than one hour for every 30 hours worked.
  • An employee would be entitled to use accrued sick days beginning on the 90th calendar day of employment.
  • An employer could limit an employee’s use of paid sick days to 24 hours or three days in each calendar year.
  • An employer provide paid sick days, upon the request of the employee, for diagnosis, care, or treatment of health conditions of the employee or an employee’s family member, or for leave related to domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking.
  • An employer be prohibited from discriminating or retaliating against an employee who requests paid sick days.

 

The measure would require employers to post provisions of the law in the workplace so that employees know their rights in terms of paid sick leave. It would also impose certain record-keeping requirements on employers.

The bill passed the Assembly Labor and Employment Committee in March and is awaiting a hearing in the Assembly Appropriations Committee.