What Are the Laws for Paid Sick Leave in California?

Paid sick leave (PSL) is a permanent law in California that requires employers to provide at least 24 hours or three days off each year to most workers. Depending on the type of plan your employer decides to offer, you may be entitled to more than the minimum amount of paid sick leave. Generally speaking, employers are required by law to provide and allow employees to use at least 24 hours or three days of paid sick leave per year. At a minimum, full-time employees have 24 hours (or 3 days) of paid sick leave per 12-month period.

You earn a minimum of 1 hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked. Employers can place a limit on the accrual of 48 hours (or six days). If you work fewer than 30 calendar days in a year for the same employer in California, this new law is not applicable to you. The family care law requires employers to allow employees to use cumulative and “available” sick leave (which is the amount that would accrue over a period of six months) for the purposes specified in the paid sick leave act. While employees can accumulate more than three days of paid sick leave below one hour for every 30 hours worked (or under an alternative accrual standard) with an accrual method, the law allows employers to limit the use of paid sick leave by employees to 24 hours or three days during a year. Employers are not required to research or record the purposes for which an employee uses paid sick leave or paid time off.

However, it is good practice to provide current employees with an individual notice with information about the new paid sick leave law in the revised DLSE notification form. If an employee has an absence that would otherwise violate the employer's assistance policy, and if the absence was due to a reason not covered by the paid sick leave law, the employer is not required to allow the employee to use paid sick leave for that absence. Employers are free to create sick leave policies that are more generous than either law. The law also states that employers can choose to advance sick leave to an employee before it accumulates, but this law does not require that they do so. If your employer retaliated against you based on PSL or protected leave, talk to a California labor and employment law lawyer about your case and how to get the money you're owed. The new law requires an employer to pay for sick leave enjoyed by an employee no later than the payday of the next regular payroll period following sick leave.

Employers must also return any accrued and unused sick leave if you return to the same employer within 12 months of your previous separation.

Cornelius Maxon
Cornelius Maxon

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