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In the ongoing quest to ensure that they are meeting the new compliance standards as set out by President Obama's health care law, companies of all sizes are now turning their attention toward a new consideration. Where previous conversations on the topic have centered on an organization's obligation to provide health care for employees, providing adequate consideration for sick days is the topic of the day.

The state of California has been at the forefront of this discussion, since the Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Family Act of 2014 has placed new requirements on what accommodations employees are entitled to. While no significant changes have been introduced, it's worth looking to California's example to see how your current paid time off plan complies with these changing regulations.

HWHFA basics
Many companies already offer employees the ability to accrue paid sick days. However, the HWHFA introduced in California would make such a practice mandatory. According to the California Legislature, any worker who works for 30 consecutive days is eligible to begin receiving paid sick days at a rate of one hour of sick time per 30 days worked. This time off would be accessible to employees after a 90-day period, at which time they can use the accrued time. However, the source also indicated that companies have the ability to limit the amount of sick time used to three days per calendar year.

Audit your benefits
The Society for Human Resource Management indicated that many companies already meet the standard outlined by this new law. However, it's still worth cracking open your PTO policy to make sure you meet all the requirements. For example, the Act mandates that sick time must be offered to both full-time and part-time employees, as well as temporary and seasonal hires.

It's also prudent to decide the extent to which your company will impose a limit or cap on these benefits. For example, the Act enables businesses to establish a 24 hour per year cap, though that is not a requirement, and certain employers may wish to institute a more generous limit.

Whether your business operates in California and is directly affected by this law, or your company is located in another state entirely, it's likely that California is just the first step in the push toward greater accommodations for employees. Small-business owners are encouraged to consult PEO companies to determine the best way to prepare for any future changes to these and other policies.