As the year draws to a close, the collaborative efforts of California's legislative and executive branches unveil a new set of laws poised to shape the legal landscape in the coming calendar year. Among the myriad changes, the spotlight falls on employment laws, with a significant overhaul in store for California employers, particularly in the realm of paid sick time regulations.
Dating back to 2014, the Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act has stood as a cornerstone in California, mandating employers across the state to provide paid sick time to employees who have logged 30 or more days with the same employer within a year of employment commencement (with a few exceptions). While diverse methods exist for implementing sick time policies, the current norm involves leave accruing at a rate of no less than one hour for every 30 hours worked, becoming usable after the initial 90 days of employment. Employers presently have the latitude to cap the maximum accrual of paid sick time at 48 hours.
The interplay of local city laws has added nuances to this regulation, with several cities adopting higher maximum accruals or more lenient restrictions on sick time accrual and utilization. Take, for example, San Francisco's Paid Sick Leave Ordinance, which mandates a higher cap of 72 hours for employers with 10 or more staff, surpassing the state threshold. This local ordinance further permits employees to exceed the three-day annual limit imposed by state law.
However, California is poised for a paradigm shift in the upcoming year through amendments to the Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act.
Foremost among the changes is an increase in the sick leave accrual rate to 40 hours or 5 days per year of employment, effective January 1, 2024—up from the existing 24 hours or 3 days.
For employers leveraging alternative paid-time-off policies to fulfill sick leave requirements, the impending law alters the landscape, stipulating that employees must be eligible to accrue at least 5 days or 40 hours of sick leave or paid time off within the initial 6 months of employment.
A second significant alteration involves raising the employer's authorized limitation on the use of carryover sick leave to 40 hours or 5 days per year of employment, replacing the current cap of 24 hours or 3 days. Existing law mandates accrued paid sick days to carry over to the subsequent year of employment.
While existing law absolves employers from permitting an employee's total accrual of paid sick leave to surpass 48 hours or 6 days, given that the employee's rights to accrue and use paid sick leave remain unrestricted, the forthcoming law elevates these accrual thresholds to 80 hours or 10 days.
Moreover, the impending law introduces modifications to any employer's alternate sick leave accrual method, necessitating that employees accrue no less than 40 hours of sick leave or paid time off by the 200th calendar day of employment or each calendar year or 12-month period. Employers will also have the option to meet accrual requirements by providing not less than 40 hours or 5 days of paid sick leave available for the employee's use by the conclusion of the employee's 200th calendar day of employment.
Lastly, the existing Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act, encompassing various provisions related to compensation for accrued, unused paid sick days, lending of paid sick days to employees, written notice requirements, calculation of paid sick leave, reasonable advance notification requirements, and payment of sick leave taken, will yield to the new law, precluding any conflicting local ordinances.
Navigating the changes in paid sick leave laws demands careful consideration and expert guidance. At Dental and Medical Counsel, we specialize in providing legal support tailored for medical, dental, and optometry practices.
Our seasoned team of legal professionals is well-versed in the intricacies of healthcare legislation, ensuring your practice remains compliant with the latest regulations. If your practice is grappling with the implications of the amended Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act, we're here to help. Reach out to us for assistance in understanding and implementing these changes, so your practice stays ahead of the curve in the ever-evolving landscape of healthcare. Contact us today to connect with our team and navigate the complexities of the updated paid sick leave laws!
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How can Dental and Medical Counsel assist practices in adapting to the changes in paid sick leave laws?
A: Dental and Medical Counsel specializes in providing tailored legal support to medical, dental, and optometry practices. Our seasoned team of legal professionals ensures practices understand and implement the latest changes in paid sick leave laws, keeping them compliant with evolving regulations.
Q: What sets Dental and Medical Counsel apart when it comes to legal guidance for healthcare practices?
A: At Dental and Medical Counsel, we stand out with our focus on delivering specialized legal support. Our team's expertise lies in the nuances of healthcare legislation, ensuring that practices receive guidance tailored to their specific needs, especially in the context of the amended Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act.
Q: How can practices benefit from the experience of Dental and Medical Counsel in a rapidly evolving healthcare industry?
A: The healthcare industry is constantly evolving, and Dental and Medical Counsel is poised to keep practices ahead of the curve. With our experienced legal professionals, we offer guidance that not only ensures compliance with new laws but also positions practices at the forefront of the dynamic healthcare landscape.
Q: Why is it crucial for practices to seek expert assistance in understanding and implementing the changes in paid sick leave laws?
A: Navigating changes in paid sick leave laws demands precision and expertise. Dental and Medical Counsel provides the essential support practices need to comprehend and seamlessly integrate these changes, safeguarding compliance and operational efficiency.
Q: How can practices get in touch with Dental and Medical Counsel for personalized legal assistance?
A: Getting in touch with Dental and Medical Counsel is easy. Simply contact us today to connect with our experienced legal professionals. Whether your practice requires clarification on the amended laws or needs assistance in implementation, our team is ready to provide the personalized support your practice needs.
At Dental & Medical Counsel, we've been instrumental in realizing the practice goals of countless dentists. Whether you're looking to purchase, launch, or sell a dental practice, our expertise is your guide. Beyond the initial stages, we're committed to ensuring your dental practice remains legally compliant.
We provide comprehensive support, including employment law protections, dental contract reviews, and assistance with dental employment agreements. Additionally, we specialize in incorporating dental practices and securing trademarks. And for long-term planning, our services extend to helping dentists with succession and estate planning. Trust us to be your partner in every step of your dental practice journey.
About Ali Oromchian, Esq.
Your Dental Lawyer
Ali Oromchian, JD, LL.M., is a leading legal authority in dental law and the founding attorney of Dental & Medical Counsel, PC, with over two decades of experience. His deep connection to dentistry comes from his wife's nearly two-decade-long career as a pediatric dentist.
This personal insight fuels his dedication to empowering dentists to navigate their legal challenges and achieve their practice goals. In doing so, Ali has helped thousands of doctors open their practices while maintaining legal compliance.
Ali is frequently quoted and contributes articles to dental publications, including the California Dental Society, Progressive Dentist, Progressive Orthodontists, Dentistry Today, Dentaltown, and The New Dentist magazines, further showcasing his commitment to the dental community.
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