Kin Care Law Amended to Permit Employees to Designate Sick Days as Kin Care or Personal Sick Leave
On September 28, 2020, Governor Newsom signed Assembly Bill 2017, which revises Labor Code § 233 (also known as the “Kin Care” law) to provide that an employee has the right to designate sick leave as for kin care; or for the employee’s own health condition or for obtaining relief if the employee is a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking. As such, employers should revise sick leave policies to ensure that employees are aware of their right to designate.
By way of background, employers are currently required to permit employees to take up to half of their accrued sick leave to care for a family member (also known as “kin care”). “Family member” for purposes of kin care is defined by Labor Code §§ 233 and 245.5(c) to include an employee’s child, parent or guardian, spouse or registered domestic partner, grandchild, grandparent, and sibling.
To avoid an employer’s erroneous designation of the use of sick days as kin care (and the depletion of kin care) when the sick days were actually taken for personal sick leave, Assembly Bill 2017 provides employees with the right to designate what type of sick days they are taking.
Assembly Bill 2017 does not alter Labor Code § 233 insofar as employers remain prohibited from taking discriminatory action against an employee for requesting or using sick leave.
Any employee aggrieved by a violation of these provisions is entitled to reinstatement and actual damages or one day’s pay, whichever is greater, and to appropriate equitable relief.