Currently, California employees, with certain exceptions, are entitled to three days or 24 hours of paid sick leave. Employers can choose to have a paid sick leave policy that provides all of the hours at one time or, the amount of available paid sick leave an employee has can accrue, where employees earn sick leave over time and any unused sick leave can carry over into the next year of employment. With accrual, employees must earn at least one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours of work. Employers can also use a different accrual method so long as an employee has no less than 24 hours of accrued sick leave or paid time off by the 120th calendar day of employment or each calendar year, or in each 12-month period. As to limits, an employer can limit an employee’s use of paid sick leave to 24 hours or three days during a year and can also limit or cap the overall amount of sick leave an employee may accrue to 6 days or 48 hours.
SB 616, a new bill being considered, would more than double mandatory paid sick leave available for California employees to seven days or 56 hours. Not only that, SB 616 as it is currently written, would modify the way sick paid leave must be accrued so that California employees have no less than 56 hours of accrued sick leave or paid time off by their 280th calendar day of employment or each calendar year, or in each 12-month period. Additionally, SB 616 would more than double the accrual cap for paid sick leave to 14 days or 112 hours and for any unused accrued sick time, employees would be permitted to carry over 56 hours or seven days to the next year.
The bill is working its way through the California Legislature, and we will continue to pay close attention to its progress. If passed, the bill would take effect on January 1, 2024.