San Diego has become the tenth jurisdiction requiring employers to provide employees with paid sick leave. On August 18, 2014, the San Diego City Council overrode the mayor’s veto of the Earned Sick Leave and Minimum Wage Ordinance. The earned sick leave provisions of the ordinance are effective on April 1, 2015.
Employees who work at least two hours in one or more calendar weeks within the geographic boundaries of San Diego accrue sick leave at the rate of one hour for every thirty hours worked within San Diego, without a cap. Employees begin to accrue sick leave at the outset of employment or on April 1, 2015, whichever is later, and can begin using accrued sick leave on the ninetieth calendar day of employment or April 1, 2015, whichever is later.
An employee may use earned sick time for the employee’s medical treatment and “other medical reasons”; providing care or assistance to a family member with an illness, injury or medical condition; when the employee’s workplace or the school of the employee’s child is closed due to a public health emergency; or for “safe time,” which is time off to engage in defined activities relating to domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking.
An employer may limit an employee’s use of earned sick leave to forty hours in a benefit year. Unused sick leave must be carried over to the following year. An employer may set a reasonable minimum increment for the use of earned sick leave, not to exceed two hours.
The ordinance prohibits an employer from requiring an employee, as a condition of using earned sick leave, to search for or find a replacement worker to cover the hours during which such employee is using earned sick leave.
For foreseeable leave, an employer can require up to seven days notice. For unforeseeable leave, an employee must give as much notice as is practicable. An employer must post a notice informing employees of their rights to earned sick leave and must also give employees upon hire information concerning earned sick time and—here is a unique tweak—notice of the “[e]mployer’s name, address, and telephone number.”
Meanwhile, the California Senate Appropriates Committee recently approved the Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act of 2014, which would guarantee California workers three days of paid sick leave annually.