Paid Sick Leave – Keeping California Families Healthy

According to the Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act of 2014, (AB 1522) employees who work a minimum of 30 days within a year are entitled to paid sick leave. (See Labor Codes 245-249)

This Act ensures that workers in California can address their own health needs and those of their families by requiring employers to provide a minimum level of paid sick days, including time for family care.

All employees who meet this criteria, including part-time and temporary employees, will earn one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked. Accrual begins on the first day of employment, but may not be used until after the employees 90th day of employment.

Employers may limit the amount of paid sick leave an employee can use in a year to 24 hours (3 days). Sick leave may be carried over to the following year, but it may be capped at 48 hours, or 6 days.

As an alternative to the "accrual method", an employer may offer the "lump-sum" method, giving employees 24 hours, (3 days) of paid sick leave at the beginning of each year. Under this option, no accrual or carry over is required, according to Evan McLaughlin, a spokesman for the Bill's author, Lorena Gonzalez, D-San Diego. These workers cannot carry over unused sick pay, but they will get at least 3 new paid sick days for the next year.

On April 4th, 2016, Governor Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill 3, (SB 3) amending the Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act. This bill entitles providers of In-home Support services, on or after July 1st, 2018, to the same paid sick leave rights as listed above. This category of employment was not covered under the original Act. Still exempt are: Employees covered by qualified collective bargaining agreements and certain employees of air carriers.

What can paid sick leave be used for?

Paid sick leave can be used for an employee or an employee's family member, ("Family member" is defined to include children, parents, grandparents, siblings, spouse, and registered domestic partners) for preventative care or for an existing health condition, or if the employee is a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking. For partial days, the employer cannot require that the employee take more than 2 hours of leave.

How can an employee request paid sick days?

Employees may request paid sick days in writing or verbally. An employee cannot be required to find a replacement as a condition for using paid sick days.

Are employers required to notify employees of accrued sick leave?

Yes, employers must show, on each employee's paystub, or on another document issued on the same day as their paycheck, how many accrued days of sick leave an employee has earned.

If you feel that you have been denied your paid sick leave rights under this law, or feel that you are being discriminated or retaliated against for requesting paid sick leave, you should contact a knowledgeable California Employment Law Attorney, such as those at Baker Curtis & Schwartz, P.C., PC, to discuss your legal rights and possible plan of action.