Emeryville Paid Sick Leave, Minimum Wage Laws, and Hospitality Services Overview

If you have a business with employees scattered across California, then staying compliant with labor laws is getting to be a very difficult and almost impossible task. The patchwork of sick leave and minimum wage laws across California is getting more difficult for employers to keep up with. Emeryville is no exception. Despite the fact that the California State recently implemented statewide sick leave laws, individual counties and cities throughout California are enacting additional laws. The purpose of this article is to provide an overview of the Emeryville Sick Leave and Minimum Wage laws and to go over some of the differences between the city ordinance and the state laws.

Adjustments to the ordinances

The Emeryville sick leave and minimum wage law was passed in June 2015. With less than 30 days for businesses to comply, the law took effect on July 1, 2015. It updated again on July 1, 2016. The law included provisions for an increasing minimum wage for employees within the city limits of Emeryville. It also included paid sick leave provisions and hospitality service fee provisions.

Covered Employees

Any employee who works in Emeryville City Limits for 2 hours a week or more is covered by both the minimum wage and paid sick leave portions of the ordinance. This is true even if the business itself is not located in Emeryville city limits. This includes all seasonal, temporary, transitional and part-time employees. There are no exceptions for employees covered under union agreements, which is different than state law.

Expanded Emeryville Minimum Wage Increases

Emeryville has enacted a city-wide minimum wage beyond the California minimum wage. The wages are scheduled to increase annually until 2016. Starting in 2017, minimum wage increases will be set by the Consumer Price Index  for all Urban consumers in the San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose, California Metropolitan area. Small business are given a five year schedule of minimum wage increases before catching up with the CPI. Small business will thereafter lag by 1 year in the minimum wage increase to large businesses.

Emeryville defines small businesses as employers who have 55 or less employees. All employees are counted including temporary, full-time or part-time employees in a given week. Employers should average out their employees for the previous calendar year to determine if they would still be considered a small business. New employers will base employee number on the first 90 days of operation until they complete the first year of business.

Below is a summary of the Emeryville Minimum Wage Increase Schedule

Effective Date Large Businesses > 55 employees Small Businesses < 56 employees
July 1, 2015 $14.44 $12.25
July 1, 2016 Based on CPI $13.00
July 1, 2017 Based on CPI $14.00
July 1, 2018 Based on CPI $15.00
July 1, 2020 Based on CPI Based on Prior Years CPI

Learners Aka Minor employees under the Minimum wage Laws

Emeryville allows for employers of minors to pay 85% of the minimum wage for the first 160 hours of their employment. This provision is to encourage employers to continue to hire students and minor employees. After the 160 hours have been satisfied, the current minimum wage applies to learners.

Emeryville Paid Sick Leave Overview

Emeryville provides different caps on sick leave based on if the employee works at a small business (<56 employees) or a large business (>55 employees).  Small businesses are able to cap paid sick leave accrual at 48 hours a year. Large businesses cannot cap sick leave accrual below 72 hours of sick leave a year. These minimum caps do not prevent businesses from providing higher cap limits or unlimited sick leave accrual for their employees.

Emeryville’s paid sick leave ordinance awards employees 1 hour of sick leave for every 30 hours worked. Unused accrued sick leave carries from year to year. However, the rolling sick leave is still subject to the accrual caps placed by the employers.

Front Loading

Employers are allowed to front load the full accrual amount (48 or 72 hours) at the beginning of the year for employees. If sick leave is front loaded, then accrual carryover is satisfied and is not required. Hours can be front loaded at the beginning of the year, on the 12 month anniversary of the employee’s hire date, or any other 12 month period.

Probationary Period

There is no provision in the Emeryville Sick Leave Ordinance for a probationary period such as state law allows.

Allowable Uses for Sick Leave Pay

Employees are allowed to use sick leave for themselves or for a family member. Sick leave can be used for medical care, treatment, or diagnosis. The ordinance specifically refers to the California Labor Code, section 233(b)(4).

When Emeryville law was originally passed, it was based on the earlier California Sick Leave laws. Emeryville added diagnosis and preventative care into their sick leave provisions. However, these provisions have also been updated in the California Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families act. Emeryville does not have specific provisions for victims of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking. However, California law does. It also allows for victims of domestic violence, stalking or sexual assault to seek redress for those injuries. This includes, but is not limited to legal and court procedures, to obtain a restraining order, to relocate to a safe location, and counseling or other services provided by a domestic abuse or rape crisis center.

  • Medical Care, Treatment or Diagnosis, including preventative care
  • Any other legal reason permitted under the California Labor Code

Update: In June 2017, Emeryville added additional rules for the Sick Leave and Minimum Wage Ordinance. Included in these rules the city now allows sick leave to be used for safe time purposes. That includes time for a domestic violence victim to get psychological counseling, to relocate, to get social services, legal services and anything else they  need to ensure their safety.

  • Medical care or psychological counseling
  • To obtain social services
  • To relocate
  • To seek legal advice
  • To take any other actions to protect themselves from further domestic violence.

Employers should be aware of this big change in sick leave usage.

Family Members Allowed for Sick Leave Use

Employees are allowed to use sick leave for themselves or for a family member. Family is defined by the State definition of Family. The State recognizes biological, adopted, foster, stepchild, legal ward, or in loco parentis. The family relationships recognized by the state include child, parent, (not parent in laws) spouse, registered domestic partner, grandparent, grandchild, and sibling. In addition Emeryville allows for employees to designate one person in lieu of a spouse or registered domestic partner that they can use paid sick leave for. New employees must have 30 days to make the designation and all employees must be given 14 days a year to designate this person. In addition, Emeryville allows for a guide dog, service dog, or signal dog. This is also different than state law provides.

  • Child, including biological adopted, foster, step, legal wards, and in loco parentis
  • Parent, NOT including parent in-laws
  • Spouse, including domestic partner
  • Grandparent or Grandchildren
  • Sibling
  • 1 designated person in leau of a domestic partner or a spouse
  • Guide dog, service dog, or signal dog

Minimum Usage

California law allows employers to require a minimum usage of 2 hours of sick leave for each time leave is used. However, Los Angeles does not allow for this requirement. If an employee uses only an hour of sick leave, then the employer cannot require that they use more than an hour of their accrued sick leave. This would be applicable if employers are using the California Paid Sick Leave time for part of the Emeryville Paid Sick Leave accrual.

Hospitality Services

The Emeryville ordinance includes a provision that requires that all hospitality services charges be paid to the workers that provide those services. This is applicable for all hotels, restaurants, and banquet facilities within the city. Charges have to be clearly labeled for customers. No hospitality service charges can be paid or shared with management or the owners of the establishment. Charges must be paid by the next payroll. Service fees include, banquet or catering meals, room service, and porterage service fees. Hospitality service fees cannot be counted toward the minimum wage requirement. Hospitality service fees are not to be confused with gratuities or tips.

Notification and Records

Emeryville will post new posters and notices every April. Employers are required to update posters by July of each year. Posters should be in an easily viewable and accessible area. Additionally, all notices should be provided in every language that at least 10% of the employees speak, in addition to English. New employees must be given notice upon hire. Payroll records must be maintained for a minimum of 3 years. Employers who fail to post notices, keep and provide records, or provide the opportunity to designate someone in lieu of a domestic partner face a fine of up to $500.  

Anti Retaliation

Retaliation to any employee that exerts their rights under the law is prohibited. Remedies for violation of the law include reinstatement of position and payment of back wages and $50 to each employee whose rights were violated. It also includes interest on all unpaid wages, reimbursement of the city’s administrative costs and attorney’s fees. Repeat violations include a penalty of $50 for each employee for each day of violation. There are no criminal penalties attached to the ordinance.

Let SwipeClock Help

Businesses who have employees in Emeryville, Los Angeles, Santa Monica and a growing list of other cities may have to comply with multiple conflicting City ordinances defining Sick leave accrual and usage laws. Additionally, these businesses have to also comply with California Sick Leave laws and maintain compliance with Federal Overtime Laws, the Family Leave Medical Act and any other national or local laws that are enacted. SwipeClock provides a comprehensive array of workforce management and time tracking tools that can help businesses to more easily stay in compliance with local and national laws. Records are effortlessly kept for years and accrual is automatically tracked and reported to employees according the state and city laws. Additionally, with geo-timekeeping clocks, businesses can effortlessly track time worked in specific cities to ensure compliance.

About SwipeClock

SwipeClock is a leading provider of cloud-based integrated workforce management solutions that include automated time and attendance, advanced scheduling, and leave management capabilities. The company’s products, including TimeWorks Plus, Time Simplicity, and Workforce Management Clock enable employers to manage their most important and expensive asset-employees-by transforming labor from a cost of doing business to a competitive advantage. SwipeClock’s workforce management solutions are sold through over 850 partners that empower more than 26,000 businesses to lower labor costs, comply with regulatory mandates, and maximize their profits. For more information, please visit www.swipeclock.com.

Written by Annemaria Duran. Last updated September 12, 2017

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