Some ABCs of California’s paid sick leave law

We highlighted in posts earlier this year that California now has a paid sick leave law on the books. The Healthy Workplace Healthy Family Act of 2014 took effect as of Jan. 1, though the rights it provides to employees don’t begin to be available until July 1 of this year.

This may be confusing to many, especially those who may already be struggling to enforce the rights available under the federal Family Medical Leave Act and the California Family Rights Act. To be able to enforce the rules, one has to understand what they are. But that can be a daunting task unless you have the benefit of an experienced attorney on your side.

The California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement acknowledges the difficulties of the existing laws and the questions resulting from the new one, so it seeks to help by providing online support tools. For this post we thought we’d try to draw attention to some fundamental questions.

Under this new law, most workers in the state will become eligible for up to 24 hours (three days) of paid leave from work. The only exceptions are workers covered by a union contract, providers of in-home support services and some certain airline employees.

To earn the time off, a worker has to be with the same employer for at least 30 days. The employee also must wait until their 90th day of employment before they can ask for the paid time off.

The standard of time used to account for the 24 hours of leave is based on an 8-hour workday. So if you work less than that on a regular basis, the time you take off isn’t necessarily limited to three days.

As you can see from this, there can be some confusion over what is available, when it can be taken and how it should be counted. When a dispute arises because of leave time denied, then it’s best to consult with an attorney with skill in this area of law.

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