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California’s New Paid Sick Leave Law Widely Misunderstood, Spells Trouble for Small Businesses

California’s new paid sick law goes into effect January 1, but many small businesses don’t understand the law or its impact for their operations. Lonnie Giamela – a partner at national labor and employment firm Fisher & Phillips LLP – is counseling his clients to educate themselves and prepare.
“Small businesses are going to be the most heavily impacted by this new statute, something most don’t even realize,” said Giamela. “There’s a real lack of clarity, so many small businesses are ignoring the new statute. That’s a big mistake.”
Giamela is seeing three primary misconceptions:
1. “I don’t need to comply until July 1, 2015.”
There is no time to waste. California employers must post a new poster and distribute a new Wage Theft Protection Act Notice by January 1, 2015. Failure to do so may subject the employer to unnecessary penalties.
2. “Small businesses aren’t covered by the statute.”
This is just wrong. Every California employer is covered by the new statute. Moreover, all employees, regardless if exempt or non-exempt, full-time or part-time are covered by the statute so long as they work 30 days and do not qualify for one of the limited exemptions.
3. “I already have a sick leave policy so I don’t need to worry about the statute.”
Many small businesses already have a PTO or sick leave policy that provides for at least six days annually of PTO, but that is not enough. The law also requires that policies be modified to notify employees that they can take leave for a number of situations. For example, most sick leave policies do not permit an employee to take leave for matters related to being a victim of domestic violence. The new paid sick leave does.
About Fisher & Phillips LLP (
Fisher & Phillips LLP is a national law firm committed to providing practical business solutions for employers’ workplace legal problems. Labor and employment law is all the firm does, offering deep and broad knowledge and experience in the area of the law the attorneys know best. Fisher & Phillips attorneys help clients avoid legal problems, are dedicated to providing exceptional client service, and are there when you need them. The firm has 300 attorneys in 31 offices. In addition to Los Angeles, the offices are in Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Charlotte, Chicago, Cleveland, Columbia, Columbus, Dallas, Denver, Fort Lauderdale, Gulfport, Houston, Irvine, Kansas City, Las Vegas, Louisville, Memphis, New England, New Jersey, New Orleans, Orlando, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Portland, San Antonio, San Diego, San Francisco, Tampa, and Washington, D.C.

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