Paid sick leave is an important employee right for those who have met California’s paid sick leave laws. Recently California amended its laws to establish minimum standards of paid time off.

In the state, anyone who has worked at least 30 days in a year and has satisfied a 90-day employment period is eligible for paid sick leave. Most employees are covered by this law, but it’s possible that those with collective bargaining agreements may have special ways of obtaining compensation for time off. The paid sick leave law also covers anyone who is staffed through a staffing agency.  Because it covers virtually everyone, as an employee, employer or company using temporary staffing, it’s important to understand California’s paid sick leave laws.

Although paid sick leave is now mandatory for most employees, it’s important to know that a worker only earns one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours that he or she works. That means that the employee must work nearly one whole week full time to get an hour paid for time off due to an illness. On top of that, the employee can only earn between eight and nine sick days per year, but you could be limited to taking only 24 hours’ worth of sick leave over the course of the year. That means that under the law, an employee need only be paid for time off for illnesses for around three days per year.

An employer can provide sick leave through its own plan or establish different plans for different categories of workers. However, each plan must satisfy the accrual, carryover, and use requirements of the law or put the full amount of leave into your leave bank at the beginning of each year in accordance with the paid time off policy. If an employer provides a policy which exceeds the minimum requirements, including providing a specific cap, the policy must be clear as to the additional terms that apply to their employees.

Source: State of California Department of Industrial Relations, “Frequently Asked Questions About California’s New Paid Sick Leave Law,” accessed Aug. 04, 2015