Am I Entitled to Paid Sick Leave In California? - Aiman-Smith & Marcy
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Am I Entitled to Paid Sick Leave In California?

Employers used to be able to decide how they wanted to proceed when it came to giving their employees sick leave. While most employees were happy to give their employees some time off to use when they weren’t feeling well, this didn’t apply to everyone. Many employees had to take unpaid time off when they were ill (or had to go to work even when they weren’t feeling the best).

This all changed in the state of California in 2015. It took full effect on July first. Then, several cities made their own laws, making employers give their employees even more sick leave. All California employers must follow the new sick leave law. For those that are located in Oakland and San Francisco, the rules are even stricter.

Here are the laws for California and certain cities to make sure that your business is treating your employees correctly. 

California’s New Sick Leave Ordinance

The new law states that:

  • All employees are allowed to use at least twenty-four hours of paid sick time every year.
  • The cap on the accrual of sick leave can’t be less than forty-eight hours.

Oakland’s Sick Leave Ordinance

Employers in Oakland must follow these guidelines:

  • Every employee that works at least two hours a week is entitled to sick leave.
  • They should accrue at least one hour of sick leave for every thirty hours that they work.
  • For businesses that have less than ten employees, they may put a cap on accrual at forty hours.
  • That being said, they must still follow California’s statewide cap of forty-eight hours.
  • Businesses who have more than ten employees can cap accrual at seventy-two hours.
  • Employers are allowed to restrict sick leave during a probationary period of ninety-days with each employee.
  • For employers who already have a sick leave plan in place, they won’t have to make any changes, as long as it follows this new ordinance.
  • Sick leave can also be used if time off is needed to care for a family member who is ill.

San Francisco’s Sick Leave Ordinance

San Francisco’s sick leave policy started in 2007. They were one of the first cities to require paid sick leave for employees.

Any employer in the city and county of San Francisco must follow these guidelines:

  • Paid sick leave is essential for all employees after their first ninety days of employment.
  • They deserve at least one hour of sick leave for every thirty hours that they work.
  • The minimal cap depends on how many employees a business has.
  • For those who have more than ten employees, the cap is seventy-two hours.
  • Just like in Oakland, employees can use paid sick leave to care for family members who are ill.

So, what does this mean for employees?

California employers are required by law to be compliant with both state and local paid sick leave ordinances. They are not allowed to take any action against employees who take days off when they are not feeling well.

So, what happens if they don’t comply? These businesses could be facing fines and penalties. Because of this, if your sick time is being denied, you have a right to seek compensation.

What can you do if you believe that you were denied paid sick leave?

If you deserve to be paid sick leave and you believe that you were wrongfully denied, don’t hesitate to take legal action. Visit us at Aiman-Smith & Marcy or call to schedule an appointment to learn more about your employee rights at 510-817-2711.