Attention Employers: Three New California Employment Bills Signed Into Law

California Mandates Paid Sick Law

Until now, California law did not require employers to give employees time off when they or their family members got sick. Assembly Bill 1522, signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown on September 9, 2014, mandates employers give employees paid sick leave.

Employers must provide all employees, including non-exempt, exempt, part-time and temporary employees, sick leave for the diagnosis, care, or treatment of an existing health condition of, or preventive care for, employees and/or employees’ family members (child, parent, spouse, registered domestic partner, grandparent, grandchild, or sibling).

Employers must provide a minimum of three days or 24 hours of paid sick days to employees, which they can give either in bulk at the beginning of the year or through an accrual process. For employers who choose to provide sick days through the accrual process, employees will accrue at a rate of no less than one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked.

Accrual and use of paid sick leave begins on July 1, 2015.

Discrimination and Sexual Harassment Protection for Interns and Volunteers

Governor Brown also signed AB 1443, which amends the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) to provide sexual harassment and discrimination protections to unpaid interns and volunteers. Previously, neither state nor federal laws provided unpaid interns and volunteers with rights and remedies regarding workplace harassment and discrimination because of their “non-employee” status. The law goes into effect on January 1, 2015.

Sexual Harassment Education and Training Now to Include Information on Prevention of “Abusive Conduct”

AB 2053, signed into law by Governor Brown, mandates that the two-hour required sexual harassment education and training of supervisory employees every two years at companies with 50 or more employees must now include a component on the prevention of abusive conduct. “Abusive conduct” is defined as “ conduct of an employer or employee in the workplace, with malice, that a reasonable person would find hostile, offensive, and unrelated to an employer’s legitimate business interests” and includes “repeated infliction of verbal abuse, such as the use of derogatory remarks, insults, and epithets, verbal or physical conduct that a reasonable person would find threatening, intimidating, or humiliating, or the gratuitous sabotage or undermining of a person’s work performance.”

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