Paid Sick Leave California

As an employee in California, you may not understand your eligibility to take sick leave at work. So we created this page to help you understand your paid sick leave rights in California.

The Healthy Families Act of 2014 (Cal. Lab. Code § 245-249) requires all California employers, whether public or private, and regardless of size, to provide paid sick leave to their employees. Unfortunately though, too many employers ignore these rights. If you are facing an issue with paid sick leave in California, Pimentel Law can help.


Before you request paid sick leave in California though, it’s important to understand whether you are covered under the Healthy Families Act.

Paid sick leave applies to all California employees, except:

  • Union employees who receive paid sick leave through their CBA
  • Construction workers with a union contract
  • Providers of in-home supportive services
  • Most air carrier employees
  • Public employees that receive retirement benefits

All California employees, except those excluded above, who work more than 30 days are entitled to paid sick leave. However, they have no right to use their accrued paid sick days until their 90th day of employment. Paid sick days accrue at a rate of one hour per every 30 hours worked. And the employer may limit employees’ use of paid sick leave to 24 hours or 3 days in each year of employment. Any unused sick leave accrued in the preceding year must be carried over to the following year. But the employer can cap the total accrued paid sick leave to 48 hours or 6 days.

Two Most Common Methods of Accrual:

  1. Accrual: For every 30 hours worked, the employee earns one hour of paid sick leave and any unused sick leave must be carried over to the next year.
  2. Upfront: Employers may choose to immediately give employees the full amount of paid sick leave (24 hours/3 days) at the start of the calendar year, but no carryover is required for any unused sick time.


Under the Healthy Families Act, paid sick leave in California may be used for the diagnosis, care, or treatment of an existing health condition or preventive care for yourself or a family member. Family member means a child (biological, adopted, foster child, stepchild), spouse, registered domestic partner, parent, grandparent, sibling or grandchild. Paid sick days are also available for victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking.

NOTE: Your employer cannot require you to search for or find a replacement worker to cover the days that you use the paid sick leave.


You may be experiencing paid sick leave issues in California because your employer has ignored your paid sick leave rights or even its own sick leave policies. Or, in many cases, your employer allows you to take a sick day but refuses to pay you for it.

Fortunately, at Pimentel Law, we can help you understand your rights so that you get the paid sick leave you are entitled to by law.

Contact today to set up a free consultation with us to learn more about paid sick leave, as well as how to protect your sick leave rights in California.