Date: July 15, 2015
To: All Management and Supervisory Staff
From: Nicole McKay Employee and Labor Relations Manager
Subject: Healthy Workplace Healthy Family Act
Effective July 1, 2015, the County implemented the provisions of AB1522, the “Healthy Workplace Healthy Family Act.” There are several important components which may affect how you manage staff. While we continue to evaluate the provisions of AB1522, and the cleanup language that is following this bill, below are guidelines for your use beginning July 1, 2015. Although some items may seem like basic common sense, or simply reiterate things you already do, it is important that you take a moment to review this document and familiarize yourselves with these new expectations. And as always, please contact your Employee Relations Analyst with questions on how to manage employees with attendance concerns.
In summary, AB1522 creates paid sick leave for all employees. While the wording is somewhat complicated, any employee who works 30 days (or any portion of those days) per year is eligible to earn paid sick leave. This will apply to nearly all of our Extra Help employees. Our regular employees are already in compliance with this requirement. Most extra help employees who do not currently earn sick leave benefits will now be “front-loaded” with 24 hours of sick leave on or about July 1st.
Extra help employees who do not utilize their sick leave by the end of June 2016 may not roll that time over. However, they will be credited with another 24 hours of sick leave in the beginning of July for use in the next fiscal year. New extra help employees will also be eligible for 24 hours of sick leave when they start employment, but they are not allowed to use it until their 90th day of employment. The 24 hours of sick leave will appear in the new extra help employee’s wage statement on the first pay period after their 90th day of employment. Regardless of their start date, each year new extra help employees will also lose any unused sick leave at the end of June but will receive a new 24 hours of sick leave in July.
The County will be providing notice of these provisions to AFSCME and SEIU. You are not required to provide notice to your staff, however it is important that you know and understand these new requirements in order to respond to questions and to appropriately monitor usage. Moreover, this information is already on the 2015 CA and Federal Employment Notices located at every worksite, and we will be available to assist with questions as this transition occurs.
Most importantly, the County intends to comply with the specific retaliation protection described in AB1522. As such, please be advised that “discharging, threatening to discharge, demoting, suspending or in any manner discriminating against an employee for using or requesting leave” within 30 days of the employee’s request for leave or other protected activity is prohibited. Employers are also prohibited from denying an employee the right to use the paid sick leave provided in AB1522.
Pursuant to AB1522, employees can file a claim against an employer who:
- Unlawfully withholds payment for use of accrued sick days.
- Fails to provide a statement of accrual of sick leave.
- Failure to track accrued sick leave accurately.
- Requires an employee to use a full-day or half-day absence for any use of sick leave.
- Denies payment for sick leave if the employee fails to provide prior notice for an unforeseen illness.
- Requires an employee to find a replacement to cover his scheduled shift or assignment.
- Denies sick leave due to a failure to provide details.
This means that if you are having concerns with an extra help employee who has used sick leave within the last 30 days it is critical that you work with employee relations prior to ending the employment relationship.
Again, please contact your Employee Relations Analyst with questions on this new law, or on how to manage employees with whom you have attendance concerns.
 As a charter county, the County of San Mateo has the authority to determine the compensation, terms, and removal of its employees. Although not required by law, the County is implementing the provisions of AB 1522 in order to promote a more healthy workplace and healthy families for our workers.