As school resumes and temperatures fall, employees may be calling out sick. Here is a refresher on the basics of California’s paid sick leave law known as the Healthy Workplace Healthy Families Act, Labor Code 245 et seq.
The state’s paid sick leave requirement applies to all employers and includes public employees.
Employees who have worked at least 30 days within a year in California qualify to accrue paid sick leave. Accrual of paid sick leave starts on the first day of employment. Employers, however, may require an employee to complete a 90-day employment period before using paid sick leave.
Reasons for Leave
Covered employees may take paid sick leave for the following reasons:
For diagnosis, care, or treatment of an existing health condition of, or preventive care for, an employee or an employee’s family member (meaning a child, which includes biological, adopted, or foster child, stepchild, legal ward, or a child to whom the employee stands in loco parentis, all regardless of age or dependency status); spouse; registered domestic partner; parent (including biological, adoptive, or foster parent, stepparent, or legal guardian of an employee or the employee’s spouse or registered domestic partner, or a person who stood in loco parentis when the employee was a minor child); grandparent; grandchild; sibling; or designated person; or
For an employee who is a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking to: (a) obtain or attempt to obtain a temporary restraining order, restraining order, or other injunctive relief; (b) help ensure the health, safety, or welfare of the victim or the victim’s child; (c) seek medical attention for injuries caused by domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking; (d) obtain services from a domestic violence shelter, program, or rape crisis center as a result of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking; (e) obtain psychological counseling related to an experience of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking; or (f) participate in safety planning and take other actions to increase safety from future domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking, including temporary or permanent relocation.
Amount of Leave
Under the state law, employers may provide either all paid sick leave at once also referred to as the front-loaded method, or by accrual methods. Depending on the method, the amount must be provided as follows:
Front Loaded Method: 24 hours or 3 days at the time of hire and the beginning of each year.
Accrual Methods: 1 hour for every 30 hours worked or accrual on a regular basis providing not less than 24 hours or 3 days by the 120th calendar day of employment or each calendar year, or in each 12-month period.
Exempt employees are deemed to work 40 hours per workweek unless the employee’s normal workweek is less than 40 hours.
Local Paid Sick Leave Ordinances
Several cities have local paid sick leave ordinances with additional requirements beyond the state mandate. Employers should check if cities where they operate have paid sick leave requirements.