California wineries can breath a sigh of relief after the California Legislature addressed some of the critical shortcomings in California’s Paid Sick Leave Law only a few weeks before it was to go into effect.

The original Paid Sick Leave Law (codified in Labor Code Section 246) provided that employees shall accrue paid sick leave at a rate not less than one hour for every thirty hours worked. To determine the amount of pay, employers were required to divide the total pay within the last 90 days by the total hours worked.

One of the critical flaws of the original Paid Sick Leave Law – readily apparent to anyone in the hospitality business – is that many employees have fluctuating pay rates. For example, a server paid mostly from tips or a sales employee paid based on a draw and commission structure wouldn’t fit the rigid 90 day calculation.

Fortunately, Assembly Bill 304, recently signed by Governor Brown, amended the Paid Sick Leave Law to provide greater flexibility for employers.

First, the amended law permits employers to offer one hour of paid sick leave for every thirty hours worked or offer three paid sick leave days per year up front.

Second, and perhaps most crucial to the hospitality and wine industries, the amended law provides greater flexibility in calculating pay rates for paid sick leave. Specifically, Labor Code Section 246(k) was amended to provide that the amount of pay can be the same regular rate used for overtime pay or the same rate used for other forms of paid leave, such as vacation. As a result, employers have greater flexibility in calculating pay rates for paid sick leave for employees with fluctuating pay rates, such as servers and sales employees.


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