Last updated on: February 22nd, 2022
Hours & Pay Regulations
There is no legal requirement in California that an employer provides its employees with either paid or unpaid vacation time. However, if an employer does have an established policy, practice, or agreement to provide paid vacation, then certain restrictions are placed on the employer as to how it fulfills its obligation to provide vacation pay. Under California law, earned vacation time is considered wages, and vacation time is earned, or vests, as labor is performed.
An employer can place a reasonable cap on vacation benefits that prevents an employee from earning vacation over a certain amount of hours. And, unless otherwise stipulated by a collective bargaining agreement, upon termination of employment all earned and unused vacation must be paid to the employee at his or her final rate of pay. In California, because paid vacation is a form of wages, it is earned as labor is performed. An employer’s vacation plan may provide for the earning of vacation benefits on a day-by-day, by the week, by the pay period, or some other period basis.
Effective Jan. 1, 2022, the state’s hourly minimum wage increases to $15 for employers with at least 26 employees and to $14 for employers with no more than 25 employees.
Effective Jan. 1, 2023, the state’s hourly minimum wage is to remain $15 for employers with at least 26 employees and is to rise to $15 for employers with no more than 25 employees.
The above information on minimum wages might not be up to date & subject to change. Kindly access the DOL website for the current rates.
Public and private employers are covered by California’s Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act. Employees, including part-time, per diem and temporary employees, are eligible for paid sick leave if they work in California for the same employer for at least 30 days within a year after beginning employment. Employees accrue at least one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked. Employees who are exempt from overtime requirements accrue paid sick leave based on a 40-hour workweek. New employees can use accrued paid sick leave beginning on their 90th day of employment. Employees can determine how much paid sick leave they need to use, but employers can set reasonable minimum increments (up to two hours) for using this leave. Employers are not required to allow employees to accrue more than 48 hours or six days of total paid sick leave if their right to accrue and use this leave is not unlawfully limited.
Public and private employers are covered by California’s Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act, are required to provide employees with paid sick days for the following purposes:
- Diagnosis, care, or treatment of an existing health condition of, or preventive care for, an employee or an employee’s family member.
- For an employee who is a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking.
California law requires that employees who work an average of at least 20 hours per week may take up to ten days of unpaid leave while their spouse is on leave from military deployment. To be eligible for this leave, the employee’s spouse must be a member of the Armed Forces of the United States (including National Guard or Reserves) on leave from deployment during a period of military conflict in an area designated as a combat theater or combat zone. Under California law, “spouse” is defined to include a registered domestic partner.
All employers must provide a leave of up to four months, as needed, for the period(s) of time an employee is actually disabled because of pregnancy, even if an employer has a policy or practice that provides less than four months of leave for other similarly situated, temporarily disabled employees. Pregnancy disability leave does not need to be taken in one continuous period of time. Employees are eligible for up to four months of leave per pregnancy, not per year.
A ‘four-month leave’ means time off for the number of days or hours the employee would normally work within four calendar months (one-third of a year or 17 1/3 weeks). For a full-time employee who works 40 hours per week, ‘four months’ means 693 hours of leave entitlement, based on 40 hours per week times 17 1/3 weeks.
For employees who work more or less than 40 hours per week, or who work on variable work schedules, the number of working days that constitutes four months is calculated on a pro-rata or proportional basis. If a holiday falls within a week taken as pregnancy disability leave, the week is nevertheless counted as a week of pregnancy disability leave. If, however, the employer’s business activity has temporarily ceased for some reason and employees generally are not expected to report for work for one or more weeks, (e.g., a school closing for two weeks for the Christmas/New Year holiday or summer vacation or an employer closing the plant for retooling), the days the employer’s activities have ceased do not count against the employee’s pregnancy disability leave entitlement.
In contrast, a part-time employee who normally works 20 hours per week, would be entitled to 346.5 hours of leave. If that employee takes intermittent leave of 180 hours throughout her pregnancy, she would be entitled to only 166.5 more hours of leave, approximately two months of leave, leading up to and after her childbirth.
California employers with 20-49 employees within a 75-mile radius to provide up to 12 weeks of job-protected unpaid leave to new parents for the purpose of bonding with a newborn child. The employee must have worked at least 1,250 hours of service during the 12-month period in order to take up to 12 weeks of paid family leave. The purpose of the leave is to allow an employee time to bond with a new child within one year of the child’s birth, adoption, or foster care placement.
A recent amendment has expanded the leave entitlement to cover smaller employers, requiring employers with 5 or more employees to provide eligible employees with up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave within a 12-month period for a qualifying reason. An employee qualifies for these rights upon 1,250 hours of service for the employer during the previous 12-month period.
Also as per the amendment, qualified employees will be entitled to take leave to care for the serious health condition of a grandparent, grandchild, or sibling in addition to the current requirement covering an employee’s parent, child, and spouse, or domestic partner.
The Bill further eliminates the current CFRA rule allowing employers to limit leave for two parents working in the same company. Under the new law, each eligible parent is entitled to up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for a qualifying reason.
Employees are entitled to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave per year. This applies when you care for a parent, spouse, or child who is seriously ill or own illness.
Permanent employees receive up to 3 full workdays (24 hours in total) of bereavement leave (per occurrence) upon the death of a person related by blood, marriage, or adoption, or of any person residing in the employee’s immediate household at the time of death. If the death occurred outside the State, a request for two additional days of bereavement leave shall be granted.
An employer who employs 25 or more employees working at the same location shall not discharge or in any way discriminate against an employee who is a parent of one or more children of the age to attend kindergarten or grades 1 to 12, inclusive, or a licensed child care provider, for taking off up to 40 hours each year, for the purpose of either of the following child-related activities:
- To find, enroll, or re-enroll his or her child in a school or with a licensed child care provider, or to participate in activities of the school or licensed child care provider of his or her child, if the employee, prior to taking the time off, gives reasonable notice to the employer of the planned absence of the employee. Time off pursuant to this subparagraph shall not exceed 8 hours in any calendar month of the year.
- To address a child care provider or school emergency, if the employee gives notice to the employer.
Donor Leave Extended – Amendment
As per the Amendment Bill (AB 1223) signed by Governor Gavin Newsom, effective January 1, 2020, the employer has to grant an additional unpaid leave of absence, not exceeding 30 business days in a 1-year period, to an employee who has used all available sick leave and is an organ donor, for the purpose of donating the employee’s organ to another person. The one-year period is measured from the date the employee’s leave begins and shall consist of 12 consecutive months.
An employee is required to provide written verification to the employer that the employee is an organ or bone marrow donor and that there is a medical requirement for the donation of the organ or bone marrow.
Employees are required to provide their employers with written verification of their participation in either organ donation or bone marrow donation. The verification also must include that the procedure is medically necessary.