All You Need to Know about the California Sick Leave Law

Author: Nicki Malekadeli
Posted on: December 4, 2019

Getting sick is normal, but your employment doesn’t have to suffer because of it. Worrying and feeling frustrated about deductions to your salary due to instances when you fall ill can be stressful. This is why the Assembly Bill 1522 was signed into law. In California, you are entitled to several hours of paid sick days. But what exactly are the provisions under the California Sick Leave Law?

Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act of 2014

Assembly Bill No. 1522 is also called California’s Paid Sick Leave Law. It aims to provide employees with several hours of paid leave for when they or their family members get sick. All employers, regardless of the number of employees in their company, are required to comply with the law’s provisions. The following qualifications must be met, however:

  • The employee must have been working in California for 30 or more days within the year. They may be a full-time employee, part-time employee, paid intern, or work under a temporary employment arrangement.
  • The employee must have worked for at least 90 days under their employer.

Some exemptions to the law include:

  • An employee under a valid collective bargaining agreement that declares that their wages, hours of work, working conditions, premium wage rates for overtime work, and regular hourly pay are no less than 30% more than the state minimum wage rate.
  • An employee who provides in-home services.
  • A flight deck or cabin crew member employed by an airline, entitled to time off equal to, or more than, one hour for every 30 hours they spend working. 

Accrual Method

There are two ways an employer may implement the Paid Sick Leave Law. One is through the accrual method. Under this method, an employer must allow qualified employees to accrue at least one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours they spend working from their first day of employment.

An employer has the prerogative to limit the paid sick leaves that an employee is entitled to by a maximum of 24 hours (3 days) for each year. The employer may also cap off the total hours accumulated each year to 48 hours (6 days). The year begins the moment the employee is hired and starts accruing paid leaves. Unused paid sick leaves must be carried over from the current year to the next one.

Lump Sum Advance Method

This method allows employers to provide a set amount of paid sick leaves to their workers in advance. Once implemented, a company must provide at least 24 hours (3 days) of paid leave or time off at the beginning of every year. 

Uses of Sick Leave

An employee must inform the employer in advance before taking a leave, which can come in the form of written or verbal notification. As long as the reason is acceptable and reasonable, employees can use their sick leave for the following:

  • For the diagnosis, care, or treatment for existing health conditions
  • For preventative care of a family member, including his or her siblings, spouse, grandparents, grandchildren, or registered domestic partner. The law also includes the employee’s biological, adoptive, or foster parent, stepparent, legal guardian, biological/adopted/foster, stepchildren, or legal ward.
  • Employees who are a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking.

Implementing California’s Paid Sick Leave Law

When implementing California’s Paid Sick Leave Law, employers should take note of these points:

  • An employer should not require their employee to provide a doctor’s note to use their accrued paid sick leave. 
  • An employer must not reprimand or take disciplinary action against an employee who uses their paid sick days.
  • Employers must inform employees about the paid sick leave law.
  • A poster regarding the law must be displayed where people can see it.
  • A memo regarding sick leave in California must be provided to new hires.
  • Giving notice to employees about their accrued paid sick days is important so they’re in the know.

Laws Related to California’s Sick Leave Law

If you want to learn more about the Paid Sick Leave Law, California has other laws in place for employees who are entitled to paid time off when sick. These include:

Senate Bill No. 3

This law amends sections 245.5, 246, and 1182.12 of the Labor Code and entitles providers of in-home services to paid sick days. The same provisions in AB 1522 apply to this law.

Kin Care Leave

Under this law, employees are granted time off from work to attend to the needs of a family member. Employees are allowed to use up to half of their sick leaves to take care of their family members.

Getting enough time to recuperate when you’re sick or to care for an ill relative is important. For one, it keeps workers safe and well. It also helps avoid the spread of viruses in the workplace, ensuring optimal productivity. Mesriani Law Group is a top-rated labor law and personal injury law firm in California. If you feel that your employer refuses to grant you your paid sick leave or retaliates against you when you use you paid sick leave benefit, get in touch with our employment retaliation attorneys. We will fight aggressively on your behalf to give you the justice you deserve.