New Law Expands Paid Sick Leave

California expanded the amount of paid sick leave that employers must offer employees working in California.

Previously, under the Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act of 2014, California employers were required to permit employees to take at least 24 hours or three days of paid sick leave a year, with paid sick leave accruing at a rate of one hour for every 30 hours worked. Under the law, the employee can accrue more than three days/24 hours, but the employer was permitted to cap the employee’s usage of sick leave at three days/24 hours. Employers were permitted to cap the numbers of hours that could be carried over into the next year at five days or 40 hours. Employers had to provide at least three days or 24 hours up-front, meaning the employee could use up to three days/24 hours of paid sick leave before having accrued those hours.

Starting January 1, 2024, Senate Bill 616 requires employers to permit an employee to use at least 40 hours or five days of paid sick leave a year, whichever is greater. At the beginning of each year, the employer must make at least five days or 40 hours of paid sick leave available “up front.” Under the new law the employer must permit at least 80 hours or 10 days to carry over into the new year.

Employees may take paid sick leave for themselves or a family member, for preventive care or diagnosis, care or treatment of an existing health condition, or for specified purposes if they are a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking. Family members include the employee’s parent, child, spouse, registered domestic partner, grandparent, grandchild, sibling or designated person. Preventive care includes annual physicals and flu shots.

If you work in California and your employer refuses to provide paid sick leave as required by law, you may file a complaint with the California Labor Commissioner. The employer is prohibited from firing you for requesting or taking sick leave. Depending on the circumstances, denial of sick leave may also violate the Americans with Disabilities Act, Family And Medical Leave Act, and California Fair Employment Housing Act.

If you were terminated for requesting or taking sick leave, you should immediately consult with an employment lawyer. Protect your rights by contacting Ortiz Law Office today at 888-376-7849.