- Written by Carl Larson
Who qualifies for Paid Sick Leave (“PSL”)?
Employees who work 30 or more days for the same employer providing the leave qualify. This includes part-time, seasonal, and full-time employees.
Who is excluded from the PSL law’s requirements?
(1) Employers who already provide paid time off (“PTO”) or PSL plans which provide for accrual of sick leave on a regular basis, so long as:
• at least 24 hours of paid time off are accrued by the 120th calendar day of employment, calendar year, or 12-month period; and
• leave carries over at least “3 days or 24 hours” of sick leave from year to year; and
• the leave is permitted to be used for the same purposes allowed in the PSL law.
(2) Employers who provided a PTO or PSL plan to a class of employees before January 1, 2015 that provided leave accrual on a regular basis so long as:
• no less than one day or eight hours of sick leave accrued within three months of employment each calendar year or 12-month period; and
• employees were eligible to earn at least 3 days of sick leave or paid time off within nine months of employment.
- Written by Susannah L. Ashton
In recent seasons, agricultural employers who work Saturdays during the harvest season are increasingly reporting an uptick in requests for religious accommodation from their employees who observe Saturday Sabbath. For instance, an employee will report for work for a couple of weeks and then request a specialized schedule that will allow him to have Saturdays off from work. In other situations, potential employees may state on their applications they cannot work Saturdays because of their religious beliefs. Employees will often provide their employers with notes from their church leaders purporting to verify their need for such accommodation. How must an employer respond?
Employers must reasonably accommodate these requests.
Simply denying the request makes the employer vulnerable to liability for religious discrimination with either the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act or with the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (“DFEH”). However, employers have a defense to potential discrimination claims if they can establish that they offered the employee a reasonable accommodation.
A reasonable accommodation may be made (1) by altering the employee’s current working conditions or (2) by offering to transfer the employee to a reasonably comparable position. A reasonable accommodation may be reached through meetings and negotiations with the employee or upon other reasonable considerations. However, employers are not required to consider all possible accommodations that could conceivably be offered to an employee. Rather, an employer has an affirmative duty only to consider some reasonable accommodations. There is no requirement that the employer accept an employee’s preference of accommodations.