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California DLSE Releases Important Guidance Regarding Paid Sick Leave, Including Employers’ January 1, 2015 Posting and Notice Obligations

December 18, 2014

(Updated as of April 24, 2015)

The California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (“DLSE”) recently published Frequently Asked Questions (“FAQs”) regarding California’s new paid sick leave law (AB 1522).  These FAQs: (a) provide guidance regarding employees’ rights to accrue and take sick leave, effective July 1, 2015; (b) clarify California employers’ obligations to notify employees of these rights, effective January 1, 2015; and (c) address employers’ tracking and recordkeeping obligations and the interaction between the new sick leave law and employers’ existing paid time off policies.  The FAQs are available on the DLSE’s website, at: http://www.dir.ca.gov/dlse/Paid_Sick_Leave.htm).

With respect to employers’ January 1, 2015 obligations, the FAQs highlight the following posting and notice requirements: 

(a)     Posting:  By January 1, 2015, employers must post, in a conspicuous place at the workplace, a poster containing required information regarding employees’ rights to accrue, request and use sick days, the amount of sick leave and terms of sick leave use, and the law’s protections against discrimination and retaliation.  The Labor Commissioner recently published a poster that employers can use to satisfy this requirement, which can be accessed on the DLSE’s website, at: http://www.dir.ca.gov/dlse/Publications/Paid_Sick_Days_Poster_Template_(11_2014).pdf.

(b)     Notice to Non-Exempt Employees

(i)      Newly-Hired Employees.

Under the California Wage Theft Prevention Act (Cal. Labor Code § 2810.5), employers must provide newly-hired, non-exempt employees with a “Notice to Employee” form, which provides important information regarding their rate of pay and other terms and conditions of employment.[1]  Beginning January 1, 2015, this Notice to Employee form must include certain required information regarding paid sick leave.

The DLSE has updated its model version of the Notice to Employee form to include the necessary sick leave information.  Employers that use the DLSE’s model form to satisfy their notice obligations may download the updated form from the DLSE’s website, at: http://www.dir.ca.gov/dlse/Publications/LC_2810.5_Notice_(Revised-11_2014).pdf.  Employers that have prepared their own Notice to Employee form, based on the DLSE’s prior version of this model form, should update their forms accordingly, to include the new information in the DLSE’s model form.

(ii)     Current Employees.

The FAQs also explain that employers must provide non-exempt employees hired prior to January 1, 2015 with (A) an updated Notice to Employee form, or (B) the necessary information regarding paid sick leave in their wage statements (or another writing required by law).  This information must be provided within seven days “of the change.”  The FAQs provide inconsistent guidance regarding whether this notice must be provided within seven days of the day the employer actually changes its policy, or within seven days of July 1, 2015 (the date employees begin accruing sick leave benefits).  Employers should therefore endeavor to provide the notices as soon as possible after implementing their changes, and  no later than July 8, 2015.

(iii)    Exclusion for Employees Covered By Collective Bargaining Agreements. 

Union employees are excluded from the paid sick leave law and California Wage Theft Prevention Act’s notice requirement if they are covered by collective bargaining agreements that contain certain required provisions regarding wages and paid time off.  Employers are therefore not required to provide these employees with an updated Notice to Employees (or the necessary information in their pay statements).  For more information regarding the conditions that must be met for union employees to be excluded from these laws, please see our previous alerts regarding the paid sick leave law and California Wage Theft Prevention Act, at http://www.kmm.com/articles-465.html and http://www.kmm.com/articles-440.html.

Please do not hesitate to contact any of our attorneys: (a) if you have any questions regarding these upcoming notice and posting obligations; or (b) if your company needs any assistance reviewing its policies and practices to provide and track sick leave as required under this new law, effective July 1, 2015.  


[1] General information regarding the Notice to Employee requirement under the California Wage Theft Prevention Act is available in our prior alert, at http://www.kmm.com/articles-440.html, and on the DLSE’s website at http://www.dir.ca.gov/dlse/FAQs-NoticeToEmployee.html