California has a specific paid sick leave law that allows California workers to take paid time off from work to recover from an illness. The California Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act of 2014 governs California paid sick leave. Here are some things to know about California paid sick leave law.
- Accrual of Compensated Sick Days: California workers generally accrue paid sick leave at a rate of one hour for every 30 hours worked. Employees covered under this rule are both full-time and part-time employees.
- Reasons for Paid Sick Leave: Employees can use paid sick leave for an illness, injury, preventive care, or to care for a family member – like a child, parent, spouse, registered domestic partner, grandparent, grandchild, or sibling – with an illness or medical appointment.
- Usage Cap and Carryover: Employers can limit the use of paid sick leave to 24 hours (or three days) in each year of a workers’ employment. Accrued, unused paid sick leave must carry over to the following year, but employers can limit the total accrual to 48 hours (or six days).
- Front-loading Option: Employers can choose to provide the full amount of paid sick leave at the beginning of each year (front-loading), which eliminates accrual and carryover requirements.
- Notice and Documentation: Sick leave policies can vary by the company. Employers can require workers to provide reasonable notice to use their sick day. If employees accrue an absence exceeding three consecutive days, a boss can request documentation (such as a doctor’s note) to verify the need for sick leave.
- Rate of Pay: Paid sick leave can be compensated at the employee’s regular rate of day’s pay or an alternative calculation method as long as it abides by the sick leave law.
- Employer Responsibilities: Employers are required to provide written notice to employees regarding their available paid sick time, either on the employee’s wage statement (paycheck), or in a separate document.
- Anti-Retaliation Protections: Employers are prohibited from retaliating against employees for using or attempting to use paid sick leave or for filing a complaint related to paid sick leave.
The employment attorneys at Lawyers for Justice, PC are extremely knowledgable about California wage and hour law, especially when it comes to sick time. The firm offers a FREE consultation for clients and operates on a contingency basis, which means clients do not pay any up-front legal fees when an attorney takes on their case. Call (818) JUSTICE for more information if you think you have been denied sick time.
Paid Sick Days in California
Most employers provide paid sick leave to their employees and the paid sick leave law only requires employers to provide three days of accrued paid sick leave.
Paid Sick Days in CaliforniaMost employers provide paid sick leave to their employees and the paid sick leave law only requires employers to provide three days of accrued paid sick leave.
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California Paid Sick Leave – FAQ
can you get fired for calling in sick? It is not legal for the same employer to terminate your employment if you use sick leave that you have accrued and are entitled to use. If you were fired for using sick days, you may be able to file a lawsuit for wrongful termination. Call (818) JUSTICE today for help.
can an employer fire you for being sick? Your employer cannot make an employment decision like hiring, firing, demoting, or reducing one’s salary – on the basis of a sickness, disability, or temporary incapacitation.
can my employer refuse time off for surgery? The Federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) states that employers must allow up to 12 weeks per year of unpaid time off to recover from an illness, surgery, or health condition. If California employers do not uphold sick leave laws, they may face an employment lawsuit.
can an employer ask why you are sick in california? Typically, employers can ask about the details of why an employee is sick. They can even ask for a doctor’s note. However, if you tell your boss that the sick time ADA-protected (Americans with Disabilities Act), no additional information needs to be provided. You can also make a request from your doctor to not be overly detailed about your specific diagnosis in the doctor’s note.
is sick leave paid? California allows three days for paid sick leave per year.
what can you use sick leave for? Paid sick leave is reserved to recuperate from an illness or to care for a family member.
can i use sick leave for mental health? Yes, mental health – even preventative mental health care – is covered under paid sick leave law.
can you use sick leave for dental appointments? Yes, dental appointments are covered under sick days.
what can i use sick leave for? Paid sick days do not account for an employee taking “personal time off.” It is to be used for days when an employee needs to recover from an illness. Paid sick leave should not be used for employee vacation.
what happens to sick leave when you resign? Employers are not required to pay out accrued, unused paid sick leave at the time of an employee’s termination, resignation, or retirement. An exception could be if an employer labels paid sick leave as part of a larger paid time off package.
what is supplemental paid sick leave? Supplemental paid sick leave can vary, but under the 2022 COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave Law, employees were entitled to paid sick leave in addition to their normal paid sick leave.
can you use pto for sick days? If California employees have a PTO plan and not separate paid sick leave, they may use PTO days for taking care of family members and for their own health needs.
what happens when a salaried employee runs out of pto? Salary deductions could happen if an employee has exhausted their PTO, as long as their absence is not for illness or a disability. Different states may offer their own laws protecting employees.