Do I Get Paid Sick Leave?: Decoding California’s New Paid Sick Leave Requirements

In 2015, the California Healthy Workplace Healthy Family Act (AB 1522) came into effect. Because of this new law, many California employees are now entitled to paid sick leave. Below are answers to some frequently asked questions about California’s new paid sick leave law. Gear-and-Gavel_gold


Do I qualify for paid sick leave?

Under the new law, employees who meet all of the following conditions are entitled to earn hours of paid sick leave:

  • Works in California,
  • Employed on or after July 1, 2015, and
  • Works in California for 30 or more days in a year.

Full-time, part-time and even temporary employees are entitled to paid sick leave, so long as they meet the requirements.

Some employees are NOT covered by the new sick leave law. The employees that may not be covered under the law include:

  • Some employees who are covered by collective bargaining agreements,
  • Some in-home supportive services providers, and
  • Some employees of airline carriers.


What if I am a seasonal employee? What happens to my paid sick leave if I leave after one season but return a year later?

If a seasonal employee returns to the same employer within 12 months of the date that they left that employer, then the employee is entitled to the unused paid sick leave that they have already accrued.


Do I get my sick leave all at once, or does it accrue based on the number of days or hours I work for my employer?

It depends on the employer. Under the new law, there are a number of ways employers may provide the sick leave to the employees. Employers may provide all of the paid sick leave at once at the beginning of a 12 month period for the employee to use during that 12 month period. Or employers may provide that employees accrue paid sick leave based on the number of hours they work. At a minimum, employees are entitled to accrue one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked.


How many days of paid sick leave do I get?

It depends on the employer. An employer may limit the number of paid sick leave an employee can use in one year to 24 hours or 3 work days, whichever is greater. (For example, if your work day is normally 10 hours per day, then the employer must allow you to take up to 30 hours of paid sick leave, three of your work days.)


Can I use my paid sick leave as soon as I am hired?

It depends on the employer. Employers do not have to allow employees to use their paid sick leave right away. Employers may require employees to work for 90 days before they may use their paid sick leave.


Before I take my paid sick leave, do I have to notify my employer?

Yes. The employees must notify their employer as soon as practicable before taking their paid sick leave.


Can my employer require me to find a replacement before I can use my paid sick leave?

No. An employee cannot be required to find a replacement worker before using a paid sick leave.


If I leave my job, does my employer have to pay out my unused sick leave?

No. If an employee leaves their job or is terminated, the employer is not required to pay out any unused sick leave that the employee has not used.


I believe my employer retaliated against me for using my paid sick leave. What should I do?

The new law protects employees from retaliation or discrimination based on their use of paid sick leave. If an employee believes their employer has retaliated or discriminated against them because they used paid sick leave, they may file a complaint with the Labor Commissioner and/or seek representation by an attorney.


If you have questions about paid sick leave, or if you feel as though your employer retaliated or discriminated against you for using or requesting to use your paid sick leave, feel free to contact Hunter Pyle Law for a free consultation at 510.444.4400 or

For more information about California’s paid sick leave laws, visit the California Labor Commissioner’s website at