Nonprofits Required to Pay Sick Leave in California

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October 1, 2014; Venable LLP

Nonprofits are employers, too. It seems all too obvious, but that fact is driven home when new laws and regulations have an impact our community along with other businesses.

On its website last week, the Venable Law Firm published an advisory alerting California-based nonprofits that a new state law will require them to provide their in-state employees with paid sick leave, effective July 1, 2015.

The California Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act of 2014 will impose new paid sick leave requirements on virtually all California employers, including nonprofits. It does not contain anexception for small nonprofits or those with fewer than a particular number of employees. However, there are some narrow exceptions to the law—for example, employees subject to collective bargaining agreements. But nonprofit employers in the nation’s most populous state “need to review their sick leave policies to ensure they are compliant with the new law,” according to the site.

The new law also applies to out-of-state nonprofits with employees working in California as long as they are California residents working in-state. Even an employee who telecommutes from California would be considered a California employee and subject to the law. The advisory goes on to say:

“Under the new law, once an employee works 30 days, an employer is required to provide that employee with at least one hour of sick leave for every 30 hours worked. In general, an employer must allow accrued paid sick leave to roll over to the next year. However, an employer may limit the use of paid sick leave in a year to 24 hours, or three days, in each year of employment….

“Employees are able to use paid sick time for preventive care for themselves or a family member. […] An employee who uses sick leave is entitled to compensation during leave at his or her standard hourly rate…An employer is not required to pay out the sick leave upon termination.”

The advisory goes on to say that nonprofits should examine their existing policies to see if they need to be modified (for example, adding sick leave days) and that they must provide notice to new and existing employees specifying how paid sick leave accrues and informing them of their right to use it.—Larry Kaplan