Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Paid Sick Leave Required?

We heard from our lawyer a couple of weeks ago that California has a new law requiring most employees to receive paid sick leave, effective July 1, 2015.  If you are not a California employer, you may not have this requirement yet, but keep your eyes and ears open.  (At this point, Connecticut is the only other state with this requirement, but more counties/cities are implementing similar policies.)  We had no idea this was coming until we received the email that the Governor signed it into law. 

I think it’s great that employees will have sick leave and it will help to remove the temptation some employees have to come in to work when they are feeling under the weather.  But, I also understand the financial repercussions that this will have on my programs.  We strive to be an employer-of-choice, providing our employees with vacation leave, sick leave, health care reimbursement, and paid planning time.  But, we are currently only able to do this for our full-time employees.  When this law goes into effect, that will have to change.

Beginning in July, each of our employees, including part-time and temporary employees, that work at least 30 days for us, must receive at least 24 hours of paid sick leave each year.  Even at minimum wage, which is currently $9 per hour in California, this will cost me at least $216 per employee per year.  My only decision will be where to get the money.  Unlike many employers, I can’t cut my staffing.  I have ratios to maintain.  So, will I cut pay rates or supply costs?  Or will I raise parents’ rates?  None of them are great options.

Along with this new paid sick leave requirement, there are a lot of communities that are also raising minimum wage, which will also have the same type of impact on our budgets.  If you aren't being faced with this yet, keep your eyes and ears open so that, perhaps, you can have a voice in the decision.

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