Whether you are an employer or an employee, knowing the current rules on required benefits is always important. Since the new year brings new changes, it is best practice to check in on changes to these regulations.

As of December 2023, California has updated its paid sick leave requirements. As of January 1st, 2024, all employers must provide employees 40 hours or five days of paid sick leave per year. This requirement is a stark increase from the previous requirement of three days or 24 hours of sick leave.

The distinction between days and hours is also essential, as this will vary by employer. The paid sick leave should be five days of your normal working time but cannot be lower than 40 hours. This means if a normal working day for an employee is 10 hours, they should be allocated 50 hours of paid sick leave to compensate them for those five days. Conversely, if a normal working day for an employee is 6 hours, they would still be entitled to 40 hours of sick leave even though their 5-day period would be 30 hours.

All employees who work for the same employer for 30 consecutive days within a year in California, including part-time, per diem, in-home supportive services (IHSS) providers, and temporary employees, are covered by this law and entitled to receive these hours. Those employed by staffing agencies are also entitled to receive sick leave under California law.

There are some limited exceptions to this regulation. Employees exempt from the paid sick leave law include:

  • Individuals employed by an air carrier as a flight deck or cabin crew member, if they receive compensated time off at least equivalent to the requirements of the paid sick leave law.
  • Retired annuitants working for governmental entities.
  • Employees of railroads.
  • Employees in the construction industry who are covered by a collective bargaining agreement with specified provisions.

Employees partially exempt from paid sick leave include employees outside the construction industry covered by a collective bargaining agreement (CBA) with specified provisions. However, these workers are still entitled to some paid sick leave under their CBA. 

This regulation does not apply to independent contractors paid on a 1099 basis as they are not considered employees under California law.

To be eligible to take sick leave in California, you must work for the same employer for 30 consecutive days within a year and complete a 90-day employment period before taking any sick leave. Paid sick leave should be granted to an employee at the employee’s or a family member’s oral or written request. Employers may not retaliate against employees for requesting or using paid sick leave. 

All California employers should ensure the updated California sick leave poster is posted in their businesses. That updated poster can be found here: https://www.dir.ca.gov/dlse/publications/paid_sick_days_poster_template_(11_2014).pdf

Additionally, for further information, you can visit the frequently asked questions page regarding this regulation on the California Department of Industrial Relations website here: https://www.dir.ca.gov/dlse/paid_sick_leave.htm#:~:text=Does%20paid%20sick%20leave%20apply,law%20with%20some%20narrow%20exceptions.

*This blog post is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal, financial, or medical advice or the forging of an attorney-client relationship. Please retain the services of an attorney to receive legal advice on how the law applies to your business.