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California Labor Enforcement Agency Clarifies Sick Leave Rule
Mar 15, 2024

California Labor Enforcement Agency Clarifies Sick Leave Rule

Topics: Discrimination, Harassment & Retaliation, Employee Leave

Effective January 1, 2024, California law requires employers to provide employees at least forty (40) hours or five (5) days of Paid Sick Leave (PSL) per year, up from 24 hours/3 days in previous years.

The revised legislation still requires employers who use an accrual method of PSL to apply an accrual rate of no less than one hour of PSL for every 30 hours worked. However, the amended law states that the employer satisfies those accrual requirements only by providing the employee no less than 24 hours of PSL by the 120th day of employment/120th day of the year or 12-month period and no less than 40 hours by the 200th day of employment/200th day of the year or 12-month period. 

This language led to significant confusion, specifically as to whether part-time employees working less than 40 hours per week were required to be provided 24 hours by the 120th day and 40 hours by the 200th day or whether this requirement only applied to full-time employees. While a full-time employee working a 40-hour workweek would naturally accrue the requisite PSL based on the 30:1 accrual ratio, the same could not be said for employees working less than 40-hour workweeks, so this was a very important unanswered question. 

Earlier this month, California’s Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE) issued FAQ responses addressing this concern and, for a rare change, provided an employer favorable opinion, explaining, 

“If an employer is using the 1 hour of paid sick leave accrued for 30 hours worked[…], then the employer does not have to provide 24 hours or 3 days by the 120th day of the year and 40 hours or 5 days by the 200th day. The requirements to provide the minimum amounts by the 120th day and the 200th day of the year are set up as a measure for employers who use other accrual methods so that the plans meet certain minimums. The measure assumes full-time employment.”

Thus, an employer that uses a 30:1 ratio for a part-time employee is in compliance with California’s new PSL law, even if the employee does not earn 24 hours of PSL by the 120th day of employment/120th day of the year or 12-month period, or 40 hours of PSL by the 200th day.  

If you have questions about California Paid Sick leave, feel free to contact the author or your favorite CDF attorney

About CDF

For over 25 years, CDF has distinguished itself as one of the top employment, labor and immigration firms in California, representing employers in single-plaintiff and class action lawsuits and advising employers on related legal compliance and risk avoidance. We cover the state, with five locations from Sacramento to San Diego.

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About the Editor in Chief

Sacramento Office Managing Partner and Chair of CDF’s Traditional Labor Law Practice Group. Mark has been practicing labor and employment law in California for thirty years. His practice has a special emphasis on the representation of California employers in union-management relations and handling federal and state court litigation and administrative matters triggered by all types of employment-related disputes. He is also adept at providing creative and practical legal advice to help minimize the risks inherent in employing workers in California. He recently named “Sacramento Lawyer of the Year” in Employment Law-Management for 2021 by Best Lawyers®.
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