New Paid Sick Leave Mandate for All Employees in California

Sick Leave is Now required for ALL Employees in California

Effective in 2015, employers are required by law to provide a set amount of paid sick leave to employees working in California. Before 2015, employers were not required to provide paid sick leave to employees unless your business was in the City and County of San Francisco. While many employers chose to offer paid or unpaid days off for employees to use when they were ill, there was no legal requirement.

Changes were made with the enactment of the Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act of 2014 (AB 1522). The new legislation mandates paid sick leave for ALL employees working in California.​​​​

By July 1, 2015, all companies must decide how your company will provide sick leave benefits.

The Act provides employers with different options to satisfy its requirements. No matter which method of providing leave is chosen, employers must provide at least 24 hours or three days of paid sick leave for each eligible employee to use per year.

Employer Option 1: Statutory Mandated Accrual

This is the plan you have if you do not have a written policy.

  • Employee earns one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked
  • Employer may cap accrued and unused sick days at 48 hours or six days
  • Doesn’t require a written policy, but a policy is highly recommended

Employer Option 2: Lump Sum Per Employer Policy

  • Employee receives at least three days or 24 hours of paid sick leave, paid leave, or paid time off at the beginning of each year
  • No carryover of unused sick time to the next year
  • Requires an employer policy

Even if your current plan exceeds the number of hours to be compliant with the new law, the Sick Pay portion must be separate from the PTO/Vacation portion.

For example: If your employees currently get 40 hours of PTO per year you can either

Add the new amount of Sick Pay hours on to the PTO (giving the employee 40 hours of PTO PLUS either of the 2 Sick Pay options your company decides on). This will give your employees 40 hours of PTO AND 24 or 30 hours of Sick Pay.


To keep the amount of time paid off the same, Subtract the amount of Sick Pay your company decides on, based on the options below, from the 40 hours of PTO. This will give your employees the following PTO examples:

  • 40 current PTO hours now equals 16 hours of PTO and 24 hours of Sick (Still equals 40 hours)
  • 40 current PTO hours now equals 10 hours of PTO and 30 hours of Sick (Still equals 40 hours)

Employers have to be able to show that your Sick Pay is separate from your PTO and that you have a true Sick Pay policy in place.

For more information about what is required by the employer, please click the link.