If I already provide my staff with sick time, do I have to pay an additional three days? If you have an existing policy that meets or exceeds the 3 days or 24 hours and it can be used for any personal time off (PTO), you do not need to provide three additional days. Note: Update the language in your current employee manual and indicate that the time meets or exceeds the state requirements of the law. Also, place a notice for employees to review prior to implementation of the new policy (provide date it becomes effective), discuss and have each employee sign an acknowledgement of the new policy. I pay out unused sick time at the end of the year, can I continue to do so? Yes, but are not obligated to do so. Also, if sick and vacation times are combined as PTO then you must pay out when an employee is terminated. With sick time, any unused front-loaded time provided in a lump sum at the beginning of the year is lost at the end of the benefit year. On the other hand, any time provided on an accrued basis (1 hour for every 30 hours worked) is rolled over and can be capped at a maximum banked at 48 hours overall. My current policy stipulates that the employee provides a physician’s note for time off due to illness, can I still require this? Under the new law, you can only ask an employee for a physician’s note for time that exceeds beyond your minimum policy limit for providing leave or three days. For example, if you provide staff beyond the minimum requirement of 3 days or 24 hours and pay 5 days sick leave, then your physician’s release note policy must exceed 5 days. Is this a required benefit for part-time employees as well? The new sick leave law applies to all employees, full time, part time and temporary, as long as they have worked in California for 30 days. I have a mix of full-time and part-time employees in my practice, how should I provide the leave? You have two choices – front load the time or pay based on accrued time. Front load the time to those employees that you know will meet or exceed the minimum requirements (24 hours or three days). Or, you can provide the time to part-time staff on an accrued basis (minimum one hour for every 30 hours worked), as they will earn the time at different rates based on the days and hours worked in the practice. Is the sick leave accrued or renewed and available immediately every new benefit year? As the practice owner/employer, you can determine it the sick leave time is accrued or provided as front-loaded flat days. If the time provided is accrued (one hour for every 30 hours worked up to 24 hours), it does roll over into the following year, and you can “cap” this total time at 48 hours banked overall. If you front load the time, any unused time is lost at the end of the year and new days are provided the beginning of the next benefit year. Will employees who have several employers be paid by their employers separately? It is possible for an employee with several employers to earn different amounts of sick time depending on the provided days or accrued hours earned and determined by each employer’s policy. The obligation to provide leave is tied to each individual employer. Is there any burden on the employee to prove an actual illness is involved rather than personal or vacation time off? How can I keep my employee from abusing the sick leave time? While you can’t control an employee from abusing the time, we recommend that you add specific language to your employee manual regarding sick leave and its intended use. You can add this language to your policy: “Sick leave is a form of insurance that employees accumulate in order to provide a cushion for incapacitation due to illness. It is intended to be used only when actually required to recover from illness or injury; sick leave is not for ‘personal’ absences. Time off for medical and dental appointments will be treated as sick leave. The Practice will not tolerate abuse or misuse of your sick leave privilege.” Should the vacation benefit be different from sick leave? This is up to you. If an employer provides PTO instead of separate benefits, your policy must indicate that the employee be allowed to use the time for sick leave under the new law. Keep in mind that unlike vacation time, sick time is not paid out at the time of termination. From an administrative standpoint, separating the benefit might be beneficial. Are associate physicians (employees who are usually paid “by the day”) eligible for paid sick leave as well? Do I need to start keeping track of their hours? Yes, associate physicians (unless otherwise contracted) are considered employees of your practice. While paid by the day, should have an hourly salary related to the workday. This rate must be based on a normal workday (or alternative workweek schedule) With this, yes, they are eligible for the paid sick leave and it is assumed you will continue to keep track of their hours. You will need to provide each employee with a written notice (pay stub) indicating the amount of sick time available to them at each pay period. It is up to each individual practice how it would like to provide the leave — lump sum or accrual basis. If an employee works only one day a week and I don’t use the accrual method, does this mean he/she receives 3 full days of sick leave like my full-time employees? Or can we grant one and a half days upfront based upon the number of hours to be worked? This scenario may work fine, but you should do the calculations based on the stipulation of the law — no less than 1 hour for every 30 hours worked. Make certain you don’t under-estimate the time allotted for your employee. According to the California Paid Sick Leave Law, does our office have a choice in providing leave on an accrual basis? If it does, what would be the minimum paid leave that we would need to provide in order to comply? Yes, your office does have a choice. If you choose to provide the time on an accrual basis, you must provide no less than 1 hour for every 30 hours worked and can limit the amount of paid sick leave to 24 hours (three days) each year. Any unused time will roll over into the following year. An employer can cap the total accrual banked by an employee to 48 hours (6 days) and can limit an employee who has accrued more than 24 hours to only use up to 24 hours in a year under the new law. Keep in mind that both regular and overtime hours are counted toward the employees accrual rate. I have a 90-day probationary period for my new employees, when are they entitled to sick pay? Accrual begins on the first day of employment (after July 1, 2015); however, your employee isn’t eligible to use the time until after satisfying the 90-day probationary period. Source: Adapted from www.CDA.org

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