California Assembly Bill 109, commonly known as AB 109 sick leave law, and also referred to as CESLA California law, came into effect on January 1, 2000. It allowed employees to use their own sick leave to take time off work to care for ill family members. However, in January 2015, California enacted AB 1522, a new Paid Sick Leave Law, which was amended on July 2015 by AB 304.
Qualifying for Paid Sick Leave
To qualify for paid sick leave, an employee must work for the same employer for at least 30 days within a year in California and satisfy a 90-day employment period – similar to a probationary period – before taking any sick leave. This means if you've worked less than 90 days for your employer, you are not entitled to take paid sick leave. You start to accrue paid sick leave on your first day of employment, but you are not entitled to take paid sick leave until the 90th day of employment.
All California employees are entitled to paid sick leave, including part-time, per diem and temporary employees, with the exception of:
- Providers of publicly funded In-Home Supportive Services, or IHSS.
- Employees covered by collective bargaining agreements with specified provisions.
- 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 new law.
- Retired annuitants working for governmental entities.
Employers may offer different sick leave plans, but all must comply with California law. Generally, the law requires employers to provide, and allow employees to use, at least 24 hours or three days of paid sick leave per year.
Kin Care California
Section 233 of the California Labor Code is often referred to as kin care. Under this law, no employer in California can deny an employee the right to use their sick leave entitlement to attend to the illness or preventative care of a family member. A family member is classed as:
- A child, including a biological child, adopted child, foster child or stepchild.
- A parent, including a biological parent, adoptive parent, foster parent or stepparent.
- A spouse, registered domestic partner, grandparent, grandchild or sibling.
An employee may use up to half of his paid sick leave to care for a family member.
Kin Care Discrimination
California's previous kin care law allowed employers to place conditions and restrictions on the use of employee sick leave, such as requiring doctors' notes. The revisions to the law removed this provision. The most recent amendments to the law prohibit retaliation or discrimination against an employee for using or attempting to use sick leave to attend to an illness or the preventative care of a family member.
- State of California Department of Public Relations: California Paid Sick Leave: Frequently Asked Questions
- California Legislative Information: Labor Code Division 2 Part 1 Chapter 1 Article 1.5 Paid Sick Days [245 - 249]
- California Legislative Information: Assembly Bill No. 109
- California Legislative Information: Labor Code Division 2 Part 1 Chapter 1 Article 1 General Occupations [200 - 244]
- sick child image by Renata Osinska from Fotolia.com