Am I Entitled to Paid Sick Leave in California?

A women wondering if she is eligible for sick time in california

There are a variety of benefits that are available to employees in California, and one of them is paid sick leave. Accruing paid sick leave and being able to use it is a benefit that, as we will explore below, the law established in California in 2015. If you are a qualified employee who meets the criteria, you should accrue paid sick leave through your qualified employment, and the leave will be available when you need it due to illness or related issues.

Some populations, however, are exempt from the law and may not be able to collect on paid sick leave like other employees in the Golden State. Read on to learn more about paid sick leave and how an employment attorney can ensure you collect what you are entitled to.

To Collect Paid Sick Leave in California, You Must Be Qualified

To collect on paid sick leave in California, you must meet the requirements to qualify. To qualify for sick leave, an employee must work for the same employer, so long as it began on or after January 1, 2015, for at least 30 days within a year in California. Paid sick leave began to accrue for employees starting on July 1, 2015.

Additionally, the employee must satisfy a 90-day empowerment period before taking any sick leave, which is similar to a probationary period. Qualifying for paid sick leave depends on first meeting the initial duration of time worked, while the period of employment must next meet the 90-day requirement.

What Employees Can Get Paid Sick Leave in California?

Knowing whether you are entitled to sick leave in California is important before beginning to collect benefits, and you can often determine this by the characteristics of your employment.

In California, all employees who work for the same employer within a year in the state have rights under the sick leave law enacted in 2015. This includes part-time, per diem, and temporary employees, in addition to full-time employees. Whether you are a full-time or a part-time employee, you will have the capacity to accrue and use paid sick leave in the state. If your employer takes any steps to try to prevent you from using such paid sick leave benefits, reach out to a local employment attorney to discuss what legal relief or compensation might be available to you.

Certain Employees are Exempt From the Paid Sick Leave Law in California

Most employees who meet the basic qualifications can collect paid sick leave. However, not all employees are eligible, as some are exempt from this law’s protections. The first population of persons exempt from the paid sick leave law is providers of publicly funded in-home supportive services, although only until July 1, 2018.

Union employees with specified sick leave provisions may be exempt from paid sick leave, depending on their collective bargaining agreement. Additionally, individuals who work for air carriers – including flight deck or cabin crew members – are exempt from the paid sick time leave if they receive compensated time off that is at least the equivalent of the requirements of the new paid sick leave law.

Independent contractors are exempt from paid sick leave requirements, as they generally do not have coverage under employment laws as employees do. Companies such as Uber and Lyft pushed California voters to overturn the law that required drivers to have employee status. Once Prop 22 passed, rideshare drivers lost their hope of employee status, which would have brought many benefits, including paid sick leave.

Finally, retired annuitants working for governmental entities will not automatically receive paid sick leave in California. If you are not sure whether you are in one of the exempted populations, discussing the facts and circumstances of your situation with an employment lawyer will identify your rights and how you can best uphold them.

Collective Bargaining Agreements and Paid Sick Leave

Collective bargaining agreements are common in the modern employment environment, especially with companies that want to operate outside of particular employment laws and regulations. When an employer uses their unequal bargaining power to pressure employees into accepting agreements that are not in their best interests, the agreements may not be enforceable, and those impacted may be able to recover damages.

The fact that your employer has a collective bargaining agreement does not mean it was bargained for the collective good of the employees. If your employer denies you paid sick leave, and you believe a collective bargaining agreement in place at your work is wrongfully causing this, you should learn whether you can take legal action.

Connect with a local employment attorney to discuss your case and determine what options might be available to you in terms of collecting on the lost value of paid sick leave you were entitled to.

Why Should I Hire an Employment Attorney?

If your employer denied you the benefits you deserve, your employer violated your rights, and the law provides remedies for those in this situation. Going against your employer personally can be stressful and intimidating, and also you can be at a significant disadvantage if your employer has experienced legal representation of their own.

Companies that avoid paying out benefits to entitled employees are often engaging in willful misconduct to the detriment of those who help them generate a profit. An employment attorney has experience working on similar cases and knows what damages are available to you and the process through which to collect them. An attorney steps in on your behalf and handles the stress of your day-to-day negotiations, and works to maximize the outcome of pretrial negotiations – or the outcome realized through court action.

Connect With a Local California Employment Attorney to Discuss Your Benefits

If your employer denied your ability to take paid sick leave despite meeting the eligibility requirements, you might be entitled to legal relief. Connecting with an employment attorney can help you explore your options, and if you have a case, collect the most compensation possible on your behalf.

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