For decades, workers in California have had the right to unpaid sick or family leave to take care of themselves and their families. The purpose of unpaid sick or family leave – as guaranteed by the federal Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and the state California Family Rights Act (CFRA) – is to allow workers the right to take care of their families while having access to employer-provided health insurance and the ability to return to their job and their former position after the leave ends.
But what many people in California may not know is that most state employees also have a right to paid sick leave, on top of their unpaid sick leave rights. And when an employer fails to honor your rights to sick leave in California, you and other workers may have the right to pursue legal action against that employer for financial recovery.
Your Rights to Paid Sick Leave in California
Under the Healthy Workplace Healthy Family Act (HWHFA), employees are eligible to take up to three days of paid sick leave every year, whether they are part-time or full-time.
As an employee, you will need to accrue these sick leave days, however. You are eligible to begin taking paid sick leave 90 days after you start working for an employer, but you will begin accruing sick days as you begin your employment. The rate of accrual is one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked.
This means that if you have worked 300 hours at a job, you will have accrued 10 hours of paid sick leave. To accrue the full 24 hours of paid sick leave (three 8-hour days), you will need to have worked 720 hours, which is the equivalent of 18 40-hour work weeks.
Note that your right to paid sick leave is separate from your right to take up to six weeks of Paid Family Leave (PFL) in California. Unlike paid sick leave, which is paid by the employer, PFL is a worker-funded insurance program which requires you to file a claim with the state.
When Your Employer Fails to Honor Your Paid Sick Leave Rights
If your employer has failed to honor your rights to receive paid sick leave, you might consider working with an employment law attorney to pursue legal action against the company for violating state law. You may be able to recover all back wages on behalf of yourself and other affected employees, as well as other financial penalties.
In addition, if an employer has retaliated against you for pursuing your rights to paid sick leave – which can include demoting you, terminating you, harassing you – you may be able to recover additional financial compensation.
Contact a Los Angeles Employment Law Attorney Today
If you suspect that you have been denied your rights to either paid or unpaid sick leave in California, work with the employment law team at LawPLA who can help you assess your situation and understand what legal options are available to you. Contact LawPLA today to schedule a consultation to discuss your potential employment law claim.