Your Sick Time Rights
Everyone gets sick. Unfortunately, rather than showing sympathy for this normal part of the human condition, some employers demand constant and superhuman availability and fire employees for even a few unscheduled absences. Other times, employees are concerned that missing work will jeopardize their chances at promotions and other employment benefits.
California employees have numerous rights, including freedom from discrimination and the right to be paid for all hours worked. Employers sometimes ignore these rights, either for their own selfish reasons or because they are not educated on your rights. Either way, when it comes to asserting your right to paid sick leave, it is important to know your rights.
Since 2014, the Healthy Workplace Healthy Family Act of 2014 (HWHFA) has required employers to provide paid sick leave to all employees who work for 30 or more days within a 12-month period.
California law requires employers to provide at least one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked. For full-time workers, this works out to at least three days of paid sick leave per year. Your employer must allow you to use at least three days of paid sick leave per year. You must be allowed to roll over accrued but unused sick leave into the following year, although your employer can cap the amount of paid sick leave you can rollover at 48 hours, or six days.
If you work in one of the many cities or counties with laws providing additional paid sick leave, you may be entitled to more paid time off. For example, you may have the right to additional paid sick time if you work in the following places:
- Los Angeles: 48 hours a year or 6 days paid sick leave
- Santa Monica: 40 hours per year (for smaller employers) and 72 hours per year (for larger employers)
- Emeryville: 48 hours a year (for smaller employers) and 72 hours a year (for larger employers)
- Oakland: 40 hours a year (for smaller employers) and 72 hours a year (for larger employers)
- San Francisco: 48 hours a year (for smaller employers) and 72 hours a year (for larger employers)
Many employers choose to “front load” paid sick leave and make available all three days of paid sick leave on a certain date in each calendar year. An example would be if your employer adds three days of paid sick leave to your first paycheck of the year. However, this is not required, and your employer can accrue paid sick leave over the course of the year.
Your employer cannot demote you, threaten to fire you, threaten to report you to immigration authorities, cut your pay, fire you, or retaliate against you in any other way for using paid sick leave. If this happens, you should talk to an experienced employment attorney as soon as possible.
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