Hello everybody.  I am hopeful that AOA members recall from my discussion in the March 2015 issue of this magazine that effective July 1, 2015, California’s new sick leave law comes into effect.  In general, it provides that every employee in the State of California who works more than 30 days per year is entitled to a minimum of three days or 24 hours of paid sick leave each year. 

If the employee does not take any sick leave days during a year, then the employer is not required to pay the employee for the non-used days. On the other hand, if the employee does take his/her sick leave during the year, then the employer may not dock the employee’s wages for that time. 

What constitutes an authorized basis for sick leave is very broad.  Not only is the worker allowed paid time off for his/her own illness, but also paid time off to attend to the diagnosis, care or treatment of any health condition of a family member of the employee.  Family members include children, foster children, stepchildren, parents, foster parents, stepparents, legal guardians, spouses, registered domestic partners, grandparents, grandchildren and siblings.

Apparently an employee’s three days or 24 hours of sick leave can be carried over to the following year of employment if it is not used in any given year.  However, the employer can limit the employee’s use of paid sick days to 24 hours or three days during each year of employment provided that they both sign a written contract to that effect.   

The employee does not have to provide the employer with any advance notice of the need for time off if the necessity is unforeseeable.  On the other hand, if the necessity for an absence from work is foreseeable, then the employee must provide the employer “reasonable” advance notification.

The new paid sick leave legislation applies to all employers, large and small.  Thus, a “boss” who employs a single file clerk must provide the same minimum number of paid sick days as a company with a staff of hundreds.  (There is an exception for employees subject to collective bargaining agreements, but that is rarely the case with apartment building owners or their management companies.)

For management companies and building owners, they must provide their resident managers with paid sick leave.  (Please recall from my prior articles that such managers are employees, not independent contractors, under California law.)

For each new employee hired, the employer is required to provide the worker with a written notice which sets forth the following:

  • The rate of pay and basis of thereof, whether it be by the hour, salary, commission, or otherwise, including rates for overtime. 
  • Allowances, if any, for reduced or free rent.  [Think: this applies to resident managers who are given free or reduced rent as a credit against the wages to which they would otherwise be entitled.]
  • The regular payday designated by the employer.
  • The name of the employer, including any “dba” names used by the employer.
  • The physical address of the employer’s main or principal office and a mailing address if different.
  • The telephone number of the employer.
  • The name, address and telephone number of the employer’s Worker’s Compensation Insurance carrier.
  • That the employee may accrue and use sick leave.
  • That the employee may not be terminated for requesting paid sick leave and has the right to file a complaint against an employer who retaliates.           

The California Labor Commissioner has prepared a form for such notifications.  It may be downloaded at:  https://www.dir.ca.gov/dlse/LC_2810.5_Notice.pdf.

In addition, the employer is required to display a poster in a conspicuous place on the premises containing a statement that the employee is entitled to accrue, request and use paid sick days, the amount of sick days provided for by the law, the terms of use of the paid sick days, and that retaliation and discrimination against the employee is prohibited.  That poster may be downloaded at the following website: http://www.dir.ca.gov/DLSE/Publications/Paid_Sick_Days_Poster_Template_(11_2014).pdf 

Impact of the Sick Leave Law on Resident Managers

As stated, resident managers are employees, not independent contractors, of the owners and management companies that hire them.  Because they are employees, such owners and management companies should review their resident manager agreements to be certain that those contracts contain the proper legalese to comply with, or at least not violate, the new sick leave law.  Almost all agreements drafted prior to 2015 should be modified, as well as most agreements prepared in 2015 which have not taken into account the new legislation. 

Dale Alberstone is a prominent litigation and transactional real estate attorney who has specialized in real property law for the past 38 years.  He has been appointed to periodically serve as a judge pro tem of the Los Angeles Superior Court and is a former arbitrator for the American Arbitration Association.  He also testifies as an expert witness for and against other attorneys who have been accused of legal malpractice.

Mr. Alberstone has been awarded an AV rating from Martindale-Hubbell.  An AV rating reflects an attorney who has reached the heights of professional excellence and is recognized for the highest levels of skill and integrity. You may Google “Dale S. Alberstone” for further background.          

The foregoing article was authored in June 2015.  It is intended as a general overview of the law and may not apply to the reader’s particular case.  Readers are cautioned to consult an advisor of their own selection with respect to any particular situation.

Questions of a general nature are warmly invited.  Address correspondence to Dale S. Alberstone, Esq., ALBERSTONE & ALBERSTONE, 1900 Avenue of the Stars, Suite 650, Los Angeles, California 90067.  Phone:  (310) 277-7300.