Sick Leave in California

sick leaveMany California employees are confused about whether or not they are legally entitled to sick leave, and what happens if they are not granted leave or if it’s not used by them during the course of their employment. Under California law, employers with less than 50 employees are not legally required to provide workers with either paid or unpaid sick leave. For larger businesses with 50 or more employees, both state and federal law requires workers be given the right to unpaid sick leave, which includes leave because of a serious health condition of the employee or to care for an ill child, parent, spouse, domestic partner or the child of a domestic partner.

California Family Rights Act & Family Medical Leave Act

These laws are the California Family Rights Act (CFRA) and the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). Under CFRA and FMLA, eligible employees can take up to 12 weeks of leave in a 12 month period, and while it does not have to legally be paid leave, employers are required to keep the employee’s job open for him or her.

Also, workers of California businesses that have five or more people on the payroll have the right to unpaid leave for pregnancy and newborn care. This right comes from the California Fair Employment and Housing Act.

The rules are a little different for employees in San Francisco. For employers in San Francisco, the City does require them to provide sick pay at a rate of one hour of sick time for every 30 hours worked. For businesses in San Francisco that have 10 or more employees, the sick pay is capped at 72 hours, and it is capped at 40 hours for smaller businesses.

If an employer chooses to provide paid sick time, and many do, a worker has the right to take it as long as he or she follows company policy regarding the sick time. Under law, vacation benefits typically accrue and are payable upon termination if not used. However, many companies have a policy that employees must use their sick time or lose it. The employer usually sets an amount of paid sick time per employee each year, and it’s up to the employer to make decisions about it within legal parameters. It’s important that employers review their sick leave policies to ensure that they are up to date with company practices, and for employees to ask employers if they have any questions about sick leave.

Sick Leave Violations

Unfortunately, many employers often do not follow the laws regarding sick leave. An employer may refuse to allow an employee to have sick leave or maternity leave to which he or she is entitled under federal or state law. In other situations, an employer may not follow its own rules regarding sick leave. The employer may refuse to compensate an employee for sick time, even if the employee has accrued the time. In some cases, and employer may fire an employee for taking too much time off for illness, even if the illness is legitimate.

The good news is that employees do have legal rights and they can choose to fight to protect those rights. At Liberty Law, Micha Star Liberty believes that employees who are denied pay for sick time, or medical leave to which they are entitled, should fight for their rights under state and federal law.

Contact Employment Law Attorneys at Liberty Law

Micha Star Liberty of Liberty Law is a dedicated employment law attorney who works in the Oakland-San Francisco area. She represents clients who claim they have not been paid the proper wages or have not been allowed sick leave to which they are entitled. If you have a dispute with your employer, contact Micha Star Liberty, Oakland employment attorney, at 510-645-1000 or 415-896-1000. She will provide you with a free consultation.



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