Sunday, March 30, 2008

Paid Sick Leave May Become California Statewide

On February 27, on the steps of San Francisco City Hall, Assemblywoman Fiona Ma introduced Assembly Bill 2716 (“AB 2716”) which, if passed, would make California the first state in the nation to require employers to provide sick leave benefits to their employees when they are sick or need time to take care of their sick family members. The bill is modeled after a San Francisco law that requires the city's employers to offer paid sick leave. The SF law, the first of its kind in the nation, went into effect last February.

Under AB 2716, any employee who works in California for 7 or more days in a calendar year would be entitled to paid sick time, which would accrue at a rate of at least one hour for every thirty hours worked, and no employee could be discriminated against for requesting sick leave. Most employers would be able to limit an employee's use to nine days in each calendar year, and small businesses with a maximum of ten workers would be allowed to limit annual paid sick days to five days. Sick time would carry over from year to year, and an employee would be entitled to use accrued sick time beginning on the 90th calendar day of employment.

Under Ma’s bill, paid sick days could be used to cover diagnosis, care, or treatment of health conditions of the employee; they could also be used to care for a sick family member or to recover from a domestic violence or sexual assault.

"Nobody wins when people have to go to work sick," Ma said. "This is just the right thing to do. We here in California want to make sure that when they are sick they do not have to worry about losing their jobs, they do not have to worry about losing a day’s pay.” Right now, nearly six million working Californians have no paid sick days through their employers. That’s approximately 40 percent of the state’s workforce, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The bill was only recently introduced and it is difficult to determine if it will be passed through the Legislature, and whether its form and requirements will change along the way. However, voters would likely support such a law, according to sponsors, who cited a University of California, Los Angeles poll that shows 88 percent of California adults surveyed "agreed or agreed strongly that there should be a law guaranteeing paid sick days for all California workers."

If passed, the law would make California the first state in the country to guarantee paid sick days. Maine, Massachusetts, Ohio and Washington DC, are also considering similar legislation, according to Ma's office.

Monday, March 17, 2008

New Family Medical Leave Act Has Been Updated January 28th, 2008

The New Family Medical Leave Act titled Military Family Leave Notice has been signed into law H.R. 4986, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2008 (NDAA) by President Bush, and became effective January 28, 2008
This new law provides eligible employees working for covered employers two important new leave rights related to military service:

(1) Eligible employees are entitled to up to 12 weeks of leave for any qualifying exigency arising out of the covered family member’s active duty,

(2) Eligible employees are entitled up to 26 weeks of leave in a single 12-month period to care for the covered service member who is recovering from a serious illness or injury. The employee is entitled to a combined total of 26 weeks of all types of FMLA leave.

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) only applies to employers who employ 50 or more employees for each working day in the current or previous year. (The 50 employee threshold includes both full-time employees and part-time employees.)

This notice is strictly informational only and is NOT the final version of the revised Family Medical Leave poster. After review of the new law is complete, the current FMLA poster, titled “Your Rights under the Family and Medical Leave of 1993” will be revised by the responsible federal agency; that revision will become available sometime between April and July of 2008.