Long-awaited answers to the new San Diego sick leave law are forthcoming

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The City of San Diego implemented its new minimum wage and sick leave ordinance effective July 11, 2016. The ordinance was passed through a ballot vote on June 7, 2016, however, the ordinance as drafted at the time of the vote, left some loose ends on how the sick leave requirements would work. Acknowledging that the sick leave provisions needed some additional refining, the City Council asked the City Attorney for guidance on an implementing ordinance that would clarify provisions of the new law. Today, the City released a first version of an implementing ordinance to address these issues and has announced that it will conduct a second reading of the implementing ordinance on July 26, 2016. If this implementing ordinance is passed, it will:

  • Allow employers to cap an employee’s total accrual of sick leave at 80 hours
  • Allow employers to front load no less than 40 hours of sick leave to an employee at the beginning of each benefit year
  • Clarify the enforcement process including a civil penalty cap for employers with no previous violations
  • Clarify language regarding the award of sick leave to be more consistent with State law

The implementing ordinance would also, among other things, designate an Enforcement Office and Enforcement Official, establish a system to receive and adjudicate complaints and to order relief to cases of violations, amend the remedy for violations, and clarify other language.

If passed, this implementing ordinance would provide employers with some relief from the uncertainty and narrowness of the existing ordinance’s provisions, especially the current lack of a front-load/lump-sum option and inability to cap the total accrual of sick leave time. Please stay tuned for further alerts…