Paid sick time leave California law Murphy, Campbell, Alliston & Quinn a Sacramento law firm

New Paid Sick Leave Law in California

On September 10, 2014, California Governor Jerry Brown signed into law AB 1522, requiring a minimum of three paid sick days per year for employees who work 30 or more days in a calendar year. Under the law, workers may accumulate one hour of sick time for every 30 hours they work, to be capped at three days per year at the employers’ option.  The new bill sets minimum standards and specifically allows employers to be more generous with paid sick leave. New employees will be allowed to use their accrued sick days after 90 days of employment. Cities throughout the nation, including San Francisco and Seattle, have enacted similar regulations; however, California is only the second state behind Connecticut to enact such a law at the state level. The bill does not apply to airline flight crews, employees subject to collective bargaining agreements, or in-home health care providers. Proponents of the law (which is also called the Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act of 2014) argue that the new bill will have a positive effect on the health of Californians by allowing sick employees paid time off to care for themselves without financial pressure, thus reducing recovery time and reducing the prospect of spreading sickness to others.  Opponents argue that this new law will be…

Handcuff outlining the word Crime Murphy, Campbell, Alliston & Quinn

Recognizing the Victim in Criminal Restitution

Although the right to restitution is prescribed by law under the California Constitution and codified in the United States Code, all crime victims who would be entitled to obtain restitution are not automatically identified and awarded restitution orders. In practice, all potential victims may not be known to the prosecution and the court at the time of sentencing. Some crimes may also be misperceived as victimless crimes particularly where the victim is not a person but an entity. For instance, where the defendant is prosecuted for the crime of manufacturing and selling drugs, the court at the time of sentencing may not know of any victims arising from the criminal activity. However, if the offender operated the drug grow site by diverting resources such as water or electricity, both under state and federal law the utility entity may be considered a victim and may be entitled to restitution for the losses sustained and arising from the operation. The California Constitution broadly states that all crime victims who suffer losses as a result of criminal activity have a right to receive restitution. (Cal. Const., art. I, § 28(b).) Restitution is also available in federal court pursuant to section 3663A(a)(1) of title 18 of the United States Code, requiring that the defendant make restitution to the victims.…

Gavel on a stack of one hundred dollar bills Murphy, Campbell, Alliston & Quinn

Damage Control

In today’s world of medicine, costs can be all over the board. The number on a bill given to a patient can vary dramatically from the amount paid by a patient’s insurance company. Things can get even trickier if a patient enters into an agreement with a medical provider to put a lien on any legal damages the patient may collect related to their medical treatment. Evolving payment options have kept the courts on their toes about the proper method of calculating damages in personal injury cases, and have kept parties to litigation guessing about what damages a personal injury plaintiff will be permitted to recover at trial. There are three major types of tort damages in common legal usage: punitive, compensatory, and nominal. Medical damages are usually considered “compensatory,” meaning that they are awarded to a plaintiff in order to compensate for actual damage incurred or the “reasonable value” of the damage. This is different from punitive damages, which are awarded to punish or “send a message” to a defendant, or nominal damages, which are minimal money damages awarded to plaintiffs who have established a cause of action, but have not actually suffered significant injury. In the 2011 case of Howell v. Hamilton Meats & Provisions Inc., 52 Cal. 4th 541 (2011), the California…

Collage of words describing healthcare benefits Murphy, Campbell, Alliston & Quinn

Employer Beware: Managing Emerging Risks Presented By Obamacare

The Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, was created with a central goal in mind, namely, to put consumers back in charge of their health care. Under the law, a new “Patient’s Bill of Rights” operates to afford the American people the stability and flexibility for healthcare choices.  Access to healthcare for all however, comes at a premium for businesses that are mandated to supply healthcare to its employees. One of the well-known provisions of the Affordable Health Care Act is the “employer mandate” which states that companies must provide health insurance coverage for employees or they will face government penalties.  Beginning in 2015, if an employer with fifty or more full-time employees fails to offer health care coverage to its employees, it will have to pay a $2,000 annual fine for each worker over the first thirty employees.   Companies with fewer than fifty full-time employees are exempt.  Employees who are not covered by their employers will be forced to obtain health insurance or face a tax penalty.  An exception to the general rule of the mandate is that an employer does not have to provide health insurance coverage for employees who log fewer than 30 hours per week on average. This part-time status exception has become a new loophole for creative employers who…