Oakland Paid Sick Leave Law Provides Greater Benefits Than the Upcoming State Requirements « Law Offices of Timothy Bowles | Top Employment Law Firm in Los Angeles

Oakland Paid Sick Leave Law Provides Greater Benefits Than the Upcoming State Requirements

Measure Took Effect March 2, 2015

Effective March 2, 2015, Oakland’s paid sick leave ordinance (Measure FF), requires employers to provide paid sick leave benefits to part-time, full-time and temporary employees who perform at least two hours of work in a particular workweek within the city limits. This new law provides benefits greater than those required statewide by California’s The Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act (the Act), going into effect on July 1, 2015. For basics on the Act’s paid sick leave benefits, see our recent articles such as California Labor Commissioner Provides the FAQs on New Paid Sick Leave Benefits Law and Shall The Fog Be Forever Forsaken?, California Labor Commissioner Again Attempts to Resolve Questions on New Paid Sick Leave Benefits Law.

Under Oakland’s Measure FF, eligible employees shall accrue one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked, which is identical to the Act’s accrual rate. Employers may cap accrued paid sick leave at 40 hours for small businesses (fewer than 10 workers) and at 72 hours for other employers. Employees may use paid sick leave for the employee’s own illness or injury, or to care for family members or other designated persons as defined by the ordinance. Accrued sick leave will carry over from year to year but need not be paid out upon termination of employment.

Employers covered by Measure FF are required to post a notice informing employees of their rights under the paid sick leave ordinance.

The Act “establishes minimum requirements pertaining to paid sick days and does not preempt, limit, or otherwise affect the applicability of any other law, regulation, requirement, policy or standard that provides for greater accrual or use by employees of sick days,… or that extends other protections to an employee.” California Labor Code section 249(d). Thus, employers affected by both Measure FF and the Act must comply with the highest standard imposed by either law. Such employers will also have to post the notices required by each of these laws.

Some of the main differences between Measure FF and the new Act include:

• State law allows employers to provide the sick leave benefit up front instead of accruing over time, Oakland’s does not.
• Oakland allows an employee without a spouse or registered domestic partner to designate another person for whom they may use paid sick leave, state law does not.
• Oakland does not include parents-in-law in its definition of “family members,” state law does.
• Oakland allows employers to require medical certificates to verify paid sick leave under certain circumstances, the state law is silent on the issue.
• Oakland’s small business 40-hour cap on accruable sick leave does not comply with state law’s cap of 48 hours or 6 days. Thus, small business employers must cap at the higher state threshold.
• Oakland’s 72 hours cap on accruable sick leave for other employers is greater than the Act’s accrual cap of 48 hours or 6 days.
• State law caps or limits amount of accrued sick leave an employee may use in a year at 24 hours or three days, Oakland does not permit a usage cap. Thus, under Oakland law an employee may take or use all of his or her accrued sick leave throughout the year without restriction.

For more information, please contact one of our attorneys, Timothy Bowles, Cindy Bamforth or Helena Kobrin.

Cindy Bamforth, March 27, 2015