As you know, there was a significant update to the California Paid Sick Leave (PSL) law in SB 616, effective January 1, 2024. As we have been assisting our clients with updating their policies, an additional question has been asked by several of our clients.

You may have an attendance policy which specifies that an employee must provide a doctor’s note or medical certification after an absence due to illness of three or more days.  If you have such an attendance policy, it needs to be adjusted as well.  Although we recommend requests for doctor’s notes be taken on a case-by-case basis, if you do want to continue with that approach, the policy should be changed to five or more days of continuous absence.  As stated in the law, an employee may take the five days of Paid Sick Leave without discipline, retaliation or reprisal:

An employer shall not deny an employee the right to use accrued sick days, discharge, threaten to discharge, demote, suspend, or in any manner discriminate against an employee for using accrued sick days, attempting to exercise the right to use accrued sick days, filing a complaint with the department or alleging a violation of this article, cooperating in an investigation or prosecution of an alleged violation of this article, or opposing any policy or practice or act that is prohibited by this article. (Lab. Code § 246.5, subd. (c)(1).)

At a minimum for 2024, the cap on PSL usage and amount front-loaded should have been increased and communicated to your employees (i.e., handbook update, wage statement/paystub, Notice to Employee, poster, etc.).  If you have not made these changes, please call your HR Consultant and we can help you make the required updates.