California Employment Law Update – June 2016

California

San Diego Minimum Wage and Paid Sick Leave Ordinance

On June 7, 2016, San Diego voters approved a local minimum wage and paid sick leave ordinance (Ordinance O-20390).

Upon certification of the election results, San Diego’s minimum wage will immediately increase to $10.50 per hour. The minimum wage will then increase again on January 1, 2017 to $11.50 per hour. Beginning in 2019, the rate will be tied to inflation.

Under the sick leave provisions, employees who perform at least two hours of work in San Diego in a year will be entitled to one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked. There is no cap on accrual of paid sick leave; however, employees are limited to using only 40 hours of paid sick leave per year. Employees may carry over accrued, unused sick leave from year to year. Employers may set a reasonable minimum increment for the use of earned sick leave not to exceed two hours. Unused sick leave does not have to be paid out upon termination of employment.

The ordinance will go into effect as soon as the election results are certified.

Read the Ordinance

Amendments to San Francisco’s Paid Sick Leave Ordinance

On June 7, 2016, San Francisco voters approved Proposition E amending the city’s paid sick leave ordinance (PSLO) to be more compatible with California’s Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act. Proposition E amends the PSLO to parallel broader state law provisions so that, with some exceptions, an employer who complies with the PLSO would also comply with state law.

Proposition E adds provisions to the PSLO consistent with broader state law so that:

  • Employees begin to accrue paid sick leave under the PSLO on the first day of employment.
  • Employees who leave a job and are rehired by the same employer within a year will have their unused PSLO sick leave reinstated.

Additionally, an employee may use paid sick leave for the broader purposes authorized by state law. Specifically, in addition to current uses:

  • An employee may use PSLO leave for legal or other purposes when the employee is a victim of domestic violence, stalking, or sexual assault.
  • Employees may use PSLO leave to care for a biological, adoptive, or foster parent, step-parent, or guardian of their spouse or registered partner, or the employee’s guardian when the employee was a minor.

Under Proposition E, if an employer provides an employee with three days of paid sick leave at the beginning of the year under state law, those three days would be treated as an “advance” on paid sick leave not yet accrued under the PSLO.

Proposition E also authorizes the Board of Supervisors to amend the PSLO to adopt provisions parallel to state or federal law in order to provide broader protections or coverage to employees.

The amendments made by Proposition E go into effect on January 1, 2017.

Read the Amending Ordinance

Los Angeles Passes Paid Sick Leave Ordinance

On June 2, 2016, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti approved a paid sick leave ordinance (Ordinance 184320) that requires employers to provide 48 hours of paid sick leave annually to employees that work two or more hours per week within the city.

The ordinance goes into effect in two phases. Effective July 1, 2016, the ordinance applies to employers with more than 25 employees. Effective July 1, 2017, the law applies to employers with 25 or fewer employees.

Paid sick leave begins to accrue on an employee’s first day of employment or July 1, 2016, whichever is later. Employees may begin using paid sick leave on July 1, 2016 or on their 90th day of employment, whichever is later.

Employers may choose to provide the entire 48 hours to an employee at the beginning of each year of employment, calendar year, or 12-month period; or allow an employee to accrue one hour of paid sick leave per every 30 hours worked.

Employees are entitled to take up to 48 hours of paid sick leave in each year of employment, calendar year, or 12-month period. Any unused accrued paid sick leave carries over to the following year, but employers may limit carryover to 72 hours. Upon termination, employers are not required to pay the employee for unused accrued paid sick leave hours. However, if a terminated employee is re-hired within one year, that employee is entitled to receive the accrued but unused paid sick leave time.

Employers should note that the definition of family member is broader under the ordinance than under state law and includes “any individual related by blood or affinity whose close association with the employee is the equivalent of a family relationship.”

Read the Ordinance

Use of Electronic Cigarettes

On May 4, 2016, California Governor Jerry Brown signed legislation (S.B. 5) that, among other things, amends state laws prohibiting smoking in places of employment to include the use of electronic cigarettes.

California law prohibits smoking at workplaces, schools, daycare centers, restaurants, bars, hospitals, and on public transportation. E-cigarettes are not currently covered by the prohibition. Senate Bill 5 amends the definition of smoking to include the use of an electronic smoking device that creates an aerosol or vapor, in any manner or in any form, or the use of any oral smoking device for the purpose of circumventing the prohibition on smoking.

The law went into effect on June 9, 2016.

Read CA S.B. 5