Last updated on: November 16th, 2023
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, 2023, the state’s hourly minimum is $15.50.
The above information on minimum wages might not be up to date & subject to change. Kindly access the DOL website for the current rates.
An employee is entitled to paid sick leave every 12 months period for full-time employees. 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 may use this leave for preventative care for, or the diagnosis, care, or treatment of an existing health condition of, the employee or a family member.
Employers are also required to provide paid sick leave to employees who are victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking. Although employees may accrue more than three days of paid sick leave under the one hour for every 30 hours worked (or under an alternative accrual standard) under an accrual method, the law allows employers to limit an employee’s use of paid sick leave to 24 hours or three days during a year.
The law also allows an employer to limit an employee’s total accrued paid sick leave to no more than 48 hours or six days. New employees can use accrued paid sick leave beginning on their 90th day of employment
Employees would be allowed to take time off to care for a “designated person” under the existing family rights law and paid sick leave law. An eligible employee is able to use leave to take care of a “designated person.” A designated person is defined as “any individual related by blood or whose association with the employee is the equivalent of a family relationship.” Employees are authorized to limit an employee to one “designated person” per 12-month period.
“Kin Care” is a right granted to eligible employees under the California Labor Code. Kin Care authorizes employees to use up to one-half (½) of the sick leave that they accrue annually to take time off to care for a sick family member.
Employees do not receive additional sick leave under Kin Care.
Definition of Family
- A child means a biological, adopted, or foster child, stepchild, legal ward, or a child to whom the employee stands in loco parentis. This definition of a child is applicable regardless of age or dependency status.
- A biological, adoptive, or foster parent, stepparent, or legal guardian of an employee the employee’s spouse or registered domestic partner, or a person who stood in loco parentis when the employee was a minor child.
- A spouse, registered domestic partner, grandparent, grandchild, or sibling.
Permitted Reasons to Use Paid Sick Time
This list includes the “Diagnosis, care, or treatment of an existing health condition of, or preventative care for, an employee or an employee’s family member,” and “For an employee who is a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking.”
- If an employee has accrued available sick days, an employer may not deny the employee the right to use those accrued paid sick days, including the right to use paid sick leave for a partial day (e.g., to attend a doctor’s appointment), and may not discipline the employee for doing so.
- The paid sick leave law does not “protect” all time off taken by an employee for illness or related purposes; it “protects” only an employee’s accrued and available paid sick leave as specified in the statute.
- One must work for the same employer for at least 30 days within a year in California, and satisfy a 90-day employment period (similar to a probationary period) before taking any sick leave.
All employers must grant paid leave to employees who are victims of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking including protections for victims of crimes causing physical or mental injury, so that they may obtain any relief (such as a restraining order) to help ensure the health, safety or welfare of either themselves or their children. Employee notice and certification requirements apply. Employers with at least 25 employees must grant leave, up to the amount of FMLA leave available, to employees who are victims of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking, so that they can:
- 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.
Employers are not required to provide this leave over or in addition to FMLA leave but may require an employee to use vacation, personal leave or compensatory time off that is otherwise available to him or her unless a collective bargaining agreement provides otherwise. These leave protections apply equally to men and women.
Employers with 25 or more employees must provide up to 10 days of unpaid leave to eligible spouses of military service members when their spouses are on leave from deployment. Notice and certification requirements apply. 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.
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.
Pursuant to Labor Code Section 1030 every employer, including the state and any political subdivision, must provide a reasonable amount of break time to accommodate an employee desiring to express breast milk for the employee’s infant child. The break time shall, if possible, run concurrently with any break time already provided to the employee.
Employers with 5 or more employees within a 75-mile radius are required 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.
All employers that provide sick leave for employees must permit employees to use their accrued sick leave benefits to care for an ill child, parent, spouse, or domestic partner of the employee. This leave applies to Adoptive or Foster Parents also. Leave is limited each year by the amount of sick leave the employee would accrue in six months. Leave runs concurrently with leave under the California Family Rights Act and the FMLA. An employee must be permitted to use family sick leave for the same purposes as required under the paid sick leave law, including for the preventive care of a family member.
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, spouse, or domestic partner.
Each eligible parent is entitled to up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for a qualifying reason.
Employers with 5 or more employees will be required to provide up to 5 days of protected bereavement leave to employees for the death of a family member, including a domestic partner or extended family member.
Eligibility and Requirement – An employee is eligible for bereavement leave once they have been employed for at least 30 days prior to the commencement of leave. A qualifying family member includes a spouse, child, parent, sibling, grandparent, grandchild, domestic partner, or parent-in-law.
The 5 days’ leave can be taken consecutively or separately within 3 months of the family member’s date of death.
Documentation – The employer may request the employee to provide documentation of the death of the family member including a death certificate, published obituary, or written verification of death, burial, or memorial services from a mortuary, funeral home, burial society, crematorium, religious institution, or governmental agency within 30 days from the first day of the leave.
California employers with 25 or more employees at the same location must allow employees who are a parent to one or more children who are of the age to attend a licensed childcare provider, kindergarten, or grades one through 12 up to 40 hours of leave per school year to participate in any of the following –
- Finding, enrolling, or reenrolling their child in school or with a licensed childcare provider.
- Participating in activities of the school or childcare provider.
- Addressing a childcare provider or school emergency.
- A leave of absence, not exceeding 30 business days in a one-year period, to an employee who 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.
- A leave of absence, not exceeding 5 business days in a one-year period, to an employee who is a bone marrow donor, for the purpose of donating the employee’s bone marrow to another person.
California law requires employers to provide employees sufficient paid time off to vote. The time off must be either before the employees’ shifts begin or after their shifts end unless otherwise agreed to by the employer and employee. The employer is only required to pay employees for up to 2 hours of time off to vote. Employers must give their employer at least three days notice of their intention to take voting leave if they know or have reason to know the leave will be necessary.