Mandatory Sick Leave in California

Mandatory Sick Leave in California

Highlights:   employers in California will need to begin carefully reviewing any sick leave or paid time off policies, as well as payroll and wage statement practices regarding such time off. The law also requires changes to the employer’s new-hire employee notice, a different workplace-posting requirement, and recordkeeping mandates.

  1. Effective Date: Takes effect on July 1, 2015.
  1. Accrual Calculation: Employees who work 30 or more days within a year from the commencement of their employment are now entitled to accrue paid sick days at a rate of “no less than one [1] hour for every 30 hours worked.” This means that a full-time employee who works 40 hours per week would be entitled to accrue up to 8.6 days of paid sick time off per year. The total number of accrued sick days will depend on the number of hours per week that an employee is normally scheduled to work. For a full-time employee working 2080 hours per year (or a salaried employee), that would be 69.33 hours (8.66 days) per year.
  1. Limitation on use and accrual: Employers may choose to limit the employee’s annual use of paid sick leave benefits to 24 hours or 3 days per year. Similarly, the employer may choose to limit the annual amount of accrued paid sick leave to 48 hours or 6 days per year. In other words, although a full-time employee working 40 hours per week can accrue up to 8.6 paid sick days, the employer may cap the amount of paid sick benefits used to 24 hours or 3 days and limit the overall annual accrual amount to 48 hours or 6 days.
    1. If an employee separates from an employer, but is rehired within one year, previously accrued and unused paid sick days shall be reinstated.
    2. Sick days can be used for the employee or a family member (defined as parent, child, spouse, registered domestic partner, grandparent, grandchild, or sibling). Time off can be used for illness or preventative care.
  1. Rate of Pay for Sick Leave: The rate of pay for paid sick leave is the employee’s regular hourly wage (which includes commission or piece rate pay), and employers must pay out sick leave benefit payments to employees no later than the payday for the next payroll period after the sick leave was taken.
  1. Use of sick days: upon the oral or written request of an employee, an employer shall provide paid sick days…
    1. No conditioning allowed.
    2. Cannot threaten to discharge for use of sick leave.
  1. Paystub records requirement: Employers are required to provide written notice on the designated pay dates that sets forth the amount of paid sick leave benefits available to the employee. This notice may be given to the employee on either the itemized wage statement or a separate written document.
  1. (a) Every employer shall, semimonthly or at the time of each payment of wages, furnish each of his or her employees to each employee, either as a detachable part of the check, draft, or voucher paying the employee’s wages, or separately when if wages are paid by personal check or cash, an accurate itemized statement in writing showing…(9) paid sick leave accrued and used pursuant to Article 1. (5commencing with Section 245)

Penalty for failure to comply, $50, then $100, no more than $4000.

  1. Written Notice of this Law Must be Provide to Current and New Employees: An employer shall give each employee written notice of the requirements of this article in English, Spanish, Chinese, and any other language spoken by at least 5 percent of the employees.  Must also display on a poster.  Penalty for failure to provide notice is $100 for each offense.
    1. Four requirements in written notice:
      1. Entitlement to accrue, request and use paid sick leave
      2. Amount of paid sick days provided under the law
  • The terms of use of paid sick days
  1. Retaliation or discrimination is prohibited and that employee may bring civil action
  1. Recordkeeping requirement: must keep for at least five years records documenting the hours worked and paid sick days accrued and used by employee.
  2. Penalties by labor Commissioner: if it is found that paid sick days were unlawfully withheld, the dollar amount of sick days withheld from the employee multiplied by three or $250, whichever is greater shall be included as an administrative penalty.

If you want to learn more on mandatory sick leave in California contact us at:

2070 Pioneer Court
San Mateo, CA 94403
Tel 650-572-7933
Fax 650-572-0834

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