Workers in California Just Got More Paid Sick Days

When an employee falls sick or when a family member of an employee falls ill, it can be challenging for the employee to decide whether to come to work or skip a day and take care of themselves or their loved one. This is because employees have limited paid sick days in a year. A paid sick day is a day that an employee can use to stay home and address their health needs or the health needs of a family member without losing pay. A family member can be, among others, an employee’s spouse, domestic partner, parent, parent-in-law, grandparent, child, or sibling. Paid sick days or sick leave differs from paid vacation time, as it is only meant for health-related purposes.

The Governor of California understands the predicament many California workers find themselves in. For this reason, he recently signed a bill that increased paid sick days for California workers. Senate Bill (SB) 616 expands the number of paid sick days per year from three to five. Besides increasing the number of paid sick days from three to five per year, SB 616 brings a few more changes. Below is a brief look at SB 616, which goes into effect at the beginning of 2024.

Paid Sick Days Increased From Three to Five per Year

On October 4, 2023, the Governor of California, Gavin Newsom, signed into law SB 616, which requires California employers to provide more paid sick days to employees. From the beginning of 2024, employers are required to provide employees with five days or 40 hours of paid sick leave per year, up from the current three days or 24 hours. In other words, the new law increases the number of sick days a worker can use every year of employment, calendar year, or 12-month period without losing pay from three or 24 hours to five or 40 hours. It is three days/24 hours and five days/40 hours because, in California, a work day typically consists of eight hours.

Carry Over and Accrual Cap

Increasing the amount of sick leave employers are required to provide California employees is the most notable change brought about by SB 616. However, as mentioned earlier, this bill brings a few more changes. First, SB 616 allows employees to carry over five days or 40 hours of paid sick leave from one year to another. Current law authorizes employers to limit a worker’s use of accrued paid sick days to three days of 24 hours. Second, SB 616 increases the accrual threshold for paid sick leave to 10 days or 80 hours. However, according to the law, carryover or accrual is not required if an employer provides an employee with five days or 40 hours of paid sick leave upfront each employment year, 12-month period, or calendar year.

Alternative Accrual Methods

Just as it is with current law, SB 616 allows employers to use different accrual methods. Employers do not have to use the one hour per every 30 hours worked accrual method. However, employers must ensure workers have no less than five days of accumulated paid sick leave by the 200th calendar day of employment or every calendar year.

Contact a California Employment Lawyer

Contact a California employment lawyer for more information on SB 616.