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Attorneys

The Governor Agrees – Professional Cheerleaders are “Employees” and Employees are Entitled to Paid Sick Leave Pursuant to the Amended Healthy Workplaces-Healthy Families Act

July 16 2015

By: Beth West

The California Legislature has been pretty busy this year introducing various bills that will affect certain California employers.  Below is a brief summary of two bills recently signed by the Governor – one that amends the new mandatory sick leave law, and one that ensures that professional cheerleaders are treated as employees for purposes of employment entitlements and protections.

Assembly Bill 304 – Amending the New Healthy Workplaces-Healthy Families Act (aka Mandatory Paid Sick Leave Law).

The bill which takes effect immediately, amends the Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act of 2014 that went into effect on July 1, 2015.  Among other things, this bill clarifies that an employee must work for the same employer within California for 30 or more days per year in order to qualify for accrued sick leave.  It also authorizes an employer to provide for employee sick leave accrual on a basis other than one hour for each 30 hours worked, provided that the accrual is on a regular basis and the employee will have 24 hours of accrued sick leave available by the 120th calendar day of employment.   Additionally, the bill clarifies that an employer may limit an employee’s use of paid sick days to 24 hours or 3 days as follows: in each year of employment; in a calendar year; or in a specified a 12-month period.  The bill also provides that an employer has no obligation to inquire into or record the purposes for which an employee uses sick leave or paid time off.

Further, for specified industries, the bill permits the delay in the application of the notice requirement and also permits an employer who provides unlimited sick leave to its employees to satisfy notice requirements by indicating “unlimited” on the employee’s itemized wage statement. The bill also requires an employer to calculate paid sick leave based upon an employee’s regular rate of pay, total wages divided by total hours worked in a 90-day period, or the wages for other forms of paid leave, as specified. The bill clarifies that an employer is not required to reinstate accrued paid time off to an employee, rehired within one year of separation from employment, that was paid out at the time of termination, resignation, or separation. The bill also clarifies that an employer is not required to provide additional paid sick days if the employer has a paid leave policy or paid time off policy, the employer makes available an amount of leave applicable to employees for specified uses, and the policy satisfies specified accrual, carry over, and use requirements, or provides paid sick leave or paid time off to employees before January 1, 2015, as specified, or pursuant to specified provisions of law or of a memorandum understanding that meet the requirements of the law.

The full text of the bill can be obtained at http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/pub/15-16/bill/asm/ab_0301-0350/ab_304_bill_20150622_amended_asm_v92.pdf.

Assembly Bill 202 – Cheerleaders for Professional Sports Teams are Employees.

This bill provides that for purposes of all of the provisions of state law that govern employment, including the Labor Code, the Unemployment Insurance Code, and the California Fair Employment and Housing Act, cheerleaders utilized by a California-based professional sports team during its exhibitions, events, or games will be deemed to be employees.   Because a violation of specified employment laws, including wage and hour laws, that would apply to California-based professional sports teams utilizing cheerleaders would be a crime, this bill imposes a state-mandated local program.

The full text of the bill can be obtained at http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/pub/15-16/bill/asm/ab_0201-0250/ab_202_bill_20150702_enrolled.pdf.