SICK PAY CALIFORNIA: Complying With California’s Paid Sick Leave Law

Sick Pay California
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All employees (full-time, part-time, and temporary), working in California for the same employer for at least 30 days within a year after beginning employment, are eligible for pay sick leave under the Healthy Workplace Healthy Family Act (HWHFA) of California. However, a 90-day employment tenure is necessary for an employee to be eligible for this PSL. This article will discuss part-time, statutory, and supplemental sick pay leave laws in California.

According to California’s paid sick leave law, every business is required to give its staff at least 24 to 3 days of paid time off each year. These leave days are available for use by employees to recuperate from physical or mental sickness or accident, to get medical care or a diagnosis, or to care for a sick family member.

What is the California Sick Pay Leave Law?

Employees who need paid time off for medical reasons are granted paid sick leave. An employer can compensate an employee for time off work to recover from an illness, injury, or disability through paid sick leave. California has a law requiring paid sick leave, although many other states do not.

The Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act of 2014 (HWHFA) in California mandates that the majority of California firms offer their staff paid sick leave. Employers in California who are required to offer paid sick leave must abide by state regulations.

It is your obligation as an employer to grant qualified workers paid sick leave and to maintain records of it. California sick pay leave is not covered by the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and may be taken separately from any other paid time off (PTO) you offer.

California Sick Pay Basics

The Healthy Workplace Healthy Family Act (HWHFA) was passed into law in California in 2014. This employment law grants accrued sick pay to California employees who work 30 days for a single employer in a calendar year.

The California paid sick leave law mandates that employers provide one hour of sick pay for every thirty hours worked; eight hours of accrued sick pay equal one full day of leave.

Sick leave must be available to employees for a minimum of 24 hours (or 3 days) annually. Additionally, businesses must permit employees to carry over unused sick time to the following year and cannot restrict rollover hours to fewer than 6 days or 48 hours annually.

Your sick leave accrual is limited by your employer to 24 hours (or 3 days) annually. In other words, if you require a leave of absence longer than 3 days, it is up to your employer to decide whether it will be compensated or unpaid.

However, when it comes to limiting sick leave, the majority of Californian companies are lenient. Ten days of paid sick time are typically provided by private businesses in the state each year. It’s also up to your employer if they want to front-load your sick pay or let it accrue.

If your employer front-loads sick pay, it means that they give you the full three days of sick leave at the start of the year on your first pay stub. If they employ an accrual technique, you will accumulate your 3 days depending on hours worked over the year.

Making Use of California Sick Pay

In California, you start earning sick pay as soon as you start working. Although the law allows for a 90-day waiting period, you cannot begin utilizing sick leave until your 90th day of employment. However, many employers are more accommodating.
You have the option of verbally or in writing asking your employer for sick leave. Furthermore, before you take a sick absence, your employer cannot insist that you find a replacement to cover your shift.

Your full rate of pay is paid when you use sick leave. It’s crucial to understand that you are not subject to retaliation from your employer if you use the California state law-guaranteed sick days. You may use your sick leave hours for the following things:

  • Taking care of or treating an existing medical condition
  • Getting a new condition diagnosed by a doctor
  • Health maintenance

Additionally, you may utilize your sick pay for the following if you have experienced domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking:

  • Getting treatment for injuries suffered as a result of abuse, violence, or stalking
  • Using the assistance of a domestic abuse shelter, rape crisis center, or comparable organization
  • To receive the necessary counseling for domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking
  • To take part in safety planning, including both temporary and permanent relocation, to stop domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking.

Using Sick Pay for Family Members

You can find yourself in a circumstance where you need to look after a sick relative even though you are healthy. According to the California Sick Pay law, you can also utilize your paid sick time to take care of a family member who is struggling with one of the aforementioned conditions.

Children, spouses, registered domestic partners, parents, siblings, grandparents, and grandkids are all considered to be qualifying family members.

Who is Eligible for Sick Pay in California?

If an employee works 30 days within the first year of employment, they are eligible for sick leave. This applies to those who started working on or after July 1, 2023. Most employees, including full-time, part-time, and temporary workers, have access to paid sick leave (PSL).

If a company’s sick leave policy predates July 1, 2023, it may be grandfathered in if it satisfies the following criteria:

  • Employees accrue at least 1 day (8 hours) of paid sick leave or PTO within 3 months of employment per year
  • Employees can earn at least 3 days (24 hours) of paid sick leave or PTO within 9 months of employment

All sick leave policies developed after July 1, 2023, must comply with California’s Sick Pay Law.

California Paid Sick Leave Exemptions

Although most exempt and nonexempt employees qualify for paid sick leave under California state law, there are a few exceptions.
Specifically, the following employees do not fall under California legislation for normal employees. They are not entitled to the paid sick days as outlined by the Healthy Workplace Healthy Family Act:

  • Federal employees and some state and city employees
  • In-home supportive services or care providers
  • Individuals covered by a collective bargaining agreement
  • A few members of the airline’s flight deck and cabin crew

California Sick Leave and Remote Workers

Sick leave allowances are based on where the employee works. In other words, if a corporation situated in Nevada has workers that work remotely from California, that business needs to conform to California’s sick pay obligations for those employees.

It’s crucial for small firms with remote workforces to be aware of local labor and paid leave rules for each employee. Employers who are unfamiliar with the laws that govern their workers can use services like Hourly’s HR Outsourcing to get all the information they need.

What Should I Do If My Employer Violates California Sick Pay Leave Law?

Speak with a San Diego employment lawyer about your situation. employees may file a complaint with the California Labor Commissioner for violations of the law requiring sick leave. They might also be able to bring a lawsuit asking for compensation.

Gather any relevant facts about your employment and sick leave request as you get ready for your appointment with an attorney. Among the many types of evidence you can present are, but are not limited to:

  • Pay stubs
  • Employment contracts
  • Company Policies
  • Employee handbooks
  • Written requests for sick leave
  • Responses to requests for sick leave

A lawyer for sick time disputes can assist you in compiling more proof that your employer broke the law on employment. There are deadlines for submitting claims for labor law violations. So, see a lawyer as soon as you can.

Accrual vs. Upfront Policies for Paid Sick Time

An employee may accrue more than 24 hours of sick time annually under the accrual policy.  The employee receives one hour’s pay for every 30 hours worked. As a result, a full-time worker could accumulate more than 52 hours of sick time annually.

Following an upfront policy, the firm gives employees a minimum of 24 hours of sick time at the start of each pay period. For instance, on January 1 of each year, a business grants each qualified employee 24 hours of sick time. Employers are not required to permit staff to roll over excess sick time to the following year when they have an upfront sick leave policy.

Supplemental Sick Pay California

Supplemental Sick Pay California was introduced in addition to PSL for workers exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19. It went into effect in 2021 and ended on December 31 of the following year. According to the new regulations, employees who are currently utilizing Supplemental Sick Pay California may continue to use their leave even if their entitlement is extended past December 31, 2023.

For instance, if a worker is advised to isolate because of covid-19 symptoms on December 29, 2022, he can still make use of Supplemental Sick Pay California if the isolation is prolonged through January 2023.

Additionally, starting on January 1, 2023, workers who were unable to work due to COVID-19 but were not paid SPSL by their employers may request payment.

How to Calculate Paid Sick Leave Rate in California

The minimum number of paid sick days required by California’s sick leave laws safeguards employees. Employees accrue sick days based on the number of hours they put in. Regrettably, some employers don’t follow the law regarding paid sick time.
Sick time is typically compensated at the worker’s regular hourly rate of pay. The same formula the employer uses to determine wages for other paid leave, such as vacation time, is used to determine sick pay for exempt workers.

Sick pay for non-exempt workers is determined using one of the following methods:

  • The regular hourly salary for the workweek in which the employee used paid sick time. The non-overtime pay for the week is divided by the non-overtime hours worked to determine the rate of pay.
  • Divide the employee’s total non-overtime earnings for the 90 days preceding the start of their sick leave by the total non-overtime hours they put in during that time.

Employees who are not excluded from overtime pay receive the same pay for sick days as they would have if they had worked those hours. Employers in California who break the law regarding sick leave are subject to fines and penalties.

How Many Paid Sick Hours Do I Receive Each Year in California?

According to the 2014 Healthy Workplace Healthy Family Act, companies must give workers one hour of paid sick time for every 30 hours they work. The law applies to qualified employees who work full- or part-time for 30 or more days for the same employer in a calendar year.

The majority of workers, including temporary, part-time, per diem, and full-time workers, are protected by the law. Exceptions consist of:

  • Some personnel of air carriers
  • Employees covered by certain collective bargaining agreements
  • Retried consultants working for the government

The maximum amount of paid sick time an employee may take in a calendar year from their company is three days or 24 hours. Employers must also allow employees to roll over unused sick pay to the following year. The employer may limit rollover paid sick leave hours to six days or 48 hours per year.

Employers may design sick leave policies for their organization, but the plans must satisfy minimum California paid sick leave standards. In addition, several cities have regulations giving additional paid sick leave for employees working within the city limits.

Do California Employers Have to Pay Sick Pay?

Yes. Under California’s permanent paid sick leave law: if you work as an employee in California for at least 30 days in a year, you are undoubtedly covered, whether you are a full-time, part-time, or temporary worker.

What Is the Sick Pay Law in California 2023?

Paid Sick Leave (PSL) is a permanent law in California that mandates companies to provide at least 24 hours or three days off each year to most workers.

Is Pto and Sick Time the Same in California?

Under normal law, sick days are a separate, guaranteed kind of PTO in California. Some employers may choose to give sick days to be used for any reason or a hybrid of sick time and personal time falling under one PTO umbrella.

Who Is Eligible for Paid Sick Leave in California?

To qualify for sick leave, an employee must: Work for the same company, on or after January 1, 2015, for at least 30 days within a year in California, and. Satisfy a 90-day employment period (equivalent to a probationary phase) before taking any sickness absence.

What Qualifies as Sick Leave in California?

You can take paid sick leave for yourself or a family member, for preventative care or diagnosis, care or treatment of an existing health problem, or for specific purposes if you are a victim of domestic abuse, sexual assault, or stalking.

Is Paid Sick Leave 120 Days in California?

New hires must be granted the lump sum of paid sick leave within 120 days from their date of hire. Employers can utilize an employee’s anniversary date, calendar year, or another period for defining the 12 months.


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