What Are California’s Laws On Vacation and Sick Pay?
How is sick time regulated under California Law?
At a minimum, California law requires at least 24 hours of paid sick leave time for each 12 month period worked by full-time and non-exempt employees (although an employer can provide more sick days). Put differently, employees earn a minimum of 1 hour of sick leave for every 30 hours worked. Under the paid sick leave law, sick time must be paid at the employee’s regular rate of pay for the workweek in which the paid sick pay was taken or by averaging the hourly pay over the last 90 days (hours worked divided by total wages without overtime premiums). For more information regarding the regular rate of pay, click here.
Sick time can be used for (1) the Diagnosis, care, or treatment of an existing health condition of, or preventive care for, an employee or an employee’s family member; or (2) an employee who is a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking. An employer cannot require that an employee find coverage as a condition of using their sick days. Additionally, an employer cannot retaliate against an employee for using a sick day.
Some cities or counties in California may have additional protections for employees.
How is vacation time regulated under California Law?
Unlike sick pay, neither federal nor California law requires that an employer provide vacation pay. However, if an employer does provide vacation time under a pre-established policy, than California law may provide certain protections. Under California law, earned vacation time is considered wages when the vests as labor is performed. Once a vacation is earned, it cannot be forfeited and any unused portion of the vacation may must be paid upon termination of employment, regardless of the reason for the termination.
For more information regarding vacation pay, see Labor Commissioner’s Office website (click here).