SFLaw-2If you have employees in San Francisco, you should be aware of the new San Francisco Paid Parental Leave law, and amendments to the city’s paid sick leave law, both of which will go into effect next year.

Note that San Francisco, Oakland, San Diego, Emeryville, Santa Monica, and Los Angeles all have sick leave laws that vary slightly from the California law. If you have employees working in those cities, be sure to check with your employment counsel to ensure you are complying with the appropriate requirements.

Paid Parental Leave.  This ordinance will require employers with employees in San Francisco to supplement California’s Paid Family Leave (PFL) so that employees received 100% of their gross weekly wages while on a parental leave of absence.  PFL currently provides eligible employees with up to 55% of their regular wages, subject to a maximum weekly benefit of $1,129.  Employees may receive these benefits for up to six weeks in a 12-month period.  San Francisco’s law will require covered employers to provide additional wage replacement benefits of up to 45% of the employee’s wages, subject to the weekly maximum.

This law goes into effect on January 1, 2017 for employers with 50 or more employees; July 1, 2017 for employers with 35 or more employees; and January 1, 2018 for employers with 20 or more employees.

With the employee’s agreement, an employer may apply up to two weeks of the employee’s accrued vacation to meet their supplemental compensation obligation. If the employee does not agree to this, the new law gives the employer the right to choose not to provide supplemental benefits.

Also, employers must display a poster with information about the supplemental benefits and must maintain records of the supplemental benefits paid to covered employees for at least three years.

Paid Sick Leave.   The amended San Francisco paid sick leave law, which goes into effect January 1, 2017, simplifies the sick leave pay calculation to match that of the California state law. For non-exempt employees, this means paying them for sick leave using either their regular rate of pay, or, a rate calculated by dividing total wages (excluding overtime) by total hours worked in the previous 90 days of employment. Exempt employees should be paid for sick leave at the same rate they are for other leaves.

The amended law will also prohibit an employer from requiring employees to take sick leave in increments of more than one hour.

Los Angeles also recently passed a sick leave ordinance. This new law allows employees working in the City of Los Angeles the ability to accrue and use up to 48 hours of sick leave. This is twice the amount provided by California state law. The ordinance went into effect on July 1 for employers with 26 or more employees, and will go into effect on July 1, 2017 for employers with 25 or fewer employees.

San Diego’s paid sick leave law went into effect on July 11 and provides employees with 40 hours of sick leave per year.

As with all changes in employment law, it’s important to update your Employee Handbook to reflect the latest requirements. Please contact me if you need help making these updates or would like to discuss a handbook review.