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What sick leave are California workers guaranteed?

Sick leave laws in California are designed to provide employees with paid time off for illness, injury or medical appointments. It can be used for the employee’s health condition and the care of family members. Additionally, victims of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking can use sick leave for related purposes.

Understanding California’s sick leave laws is crucial for employers and employees to ensure compliance and make the most of the benefits provided.

Accrual and usage of sick leave

Employees in California accrue sick leave at a minimum rate of one hour for every 30 hours worked. This begins on the first day of employment, but employees are generally eligible to use accrued sick leave starting the 90th day of employment. Employers can limit the use of paid sick leave to 40 hours or five days per year, whichever is greater, as of January 1, 2024.

Eligibility for sick leave

Most employees in California who work for the same employer for at least 30 days within a year are eligible for paid sick leave. This includes full-time, part-time, temporary, staffing agency and per diem employees. However, certain workers, such as some in-home supportive services providers, are subject to different rules.

Carryover and cap policies

Employees are allowed to carry over unused sick leave to the following year. Employers can cap the total accrual of sick leave, generally not less than 80 hours or 10 days. Despite this carryover provision, employers can limit an employee’s use of sick leave to 40 hours or five days per year.

An employee who isn’t receiving the requisite sick pay may have legal options. Learning about these may help them to determine how to proceed. 


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