San Diego Employers Take Note: July 11, 2016 New Minimum Wage and Sick Leave Ordinance!

San Diego has approved a minimum wage and sick leave ordinance which is effective July 11, 2016. The ordinance increases the minimum wage in the City of San Diego to $10.50 and changes the rules of California’s paid sick leave policy. Specifics of the “Earned Sick Leave-Minimum Wage Ordinance” include:

Minimum Wage

· Increases San Diego’s minimum wage to $10.50/hour now and to $11.50 on January 1, 2017.
· Requires minimum wage be paid for every hour an employee works within the City of San Diego, regardless of where the employer is located.
· Defines “employee” as “any person who, in one or more calendar weeks of the year, performs at least two hours of work within the geographic boundaries of the City of San Diego for an employer”
· Some exceptions apply, such as certain youth employees in publicly-subsidized summer or short-term employment programs, and certain counselors at organized, outdoor camps.

Sick Leave

· No front loading of sick leave time is allowed. Employees must receive one hour of paid, earned sick leave for every 30 hours worked within the geographic boundaries of San Diego.
· Earned sick leave begins to accrue as soon as employment start, but employers can enforce a 90-day waiting period before the sick leave can be taken.
· Employers may limit the use of the leave to 40 hours in a consecutive 12 month period, but accrual cannot be capped and unused leave must be carried over.
· Upon an employee’s separation from employment, employers do not have to pay out unused sick leave, but they must reinstate accrued sick leave if the employee returns within six months.

· If an employee is absent for more than three consecutive work days, the employer may require reasonable documentation that earned sick leave was taken for a permissible reason. Employers must accept reasonable documentation (which does not specify the nature of the injury, illness or medical condition) signed by a licensed health care provider.

 

Posting Requirements

· Employers are required to post notices informing employees of this new ordinance. (The City will publish a template notice and make it available to employers.)
· The notice must be posted in a conspicuous place at any workplace or job site where any covered employee works. All employers also must provide each employee at the time of hire, written notice of the employer’s name, address, and telephone number, and the legal requirements under the Ordinance.

· Posting and notice materials must be offered in English and the employees’ primary language if that language is one for which the San Diego County Registrar of Voters provides translated ballot materials and is spoken by at least 5 percent of the employees at a particular job site.
· Employers must maintain records for at least three years documenting wages earned, and sick leave accrued and used by employees.

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