How Does Paid Sick Leave Work In California?

In California, employees who work for an employer for 30 or more days generally must receive paid sick leave and are entitled to use it beginning on the 90th day of employment.  Employees accrue paid sick days at the rate of no less than one hour for every 30 hours worked.  Employers can also just provide employees at least 3 paid sick leave days or 24 paid sick leave hours available to the employees by the 120th calendar day of employment, each calendar year, or in each 12-month period.  Note, some city or municipal ordinances may require employees receive even more than 24 hours or three days of paid sick leave per year.

Employees get to keep unused accrued paid sick days going into the following year of employment.  But employers may limit or cap employees’ use of paid sick leave to 24 hours or three days in each year of employment, calendar year, or 12-month period.  Accordingly, it is critical for employees to examine their employers’ paid sick leave policies, typically found in an employee handbook, to understand the amount of paid sick leave, accrual method, and carry over employees are entitled to.   

Finally, employers must allow employees to use accrued paid sick leave days when employees make oral or written requests to employers to use paid sick leave days for diagnosis for diagnosis, care, or treatment of an existing health condition of, or preventive care for, an employee or an employee’s family member.  In other words, employees may use paid sick leave when they need to miss work because they or their family member are sick and/or need medical treatment.  Note, employees may also use paid sick leave to seek relief, including, but not limited to, restraining orders, for domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking.

(See Link(s): Labor Code Sections 233, 234, 246, and 246.5)