Omid Nosrati

How can I use my paid sick leave?

As part of an ongoing mission to alleviate employee anxiety concerning the need to take time off for unexpected illness or medical treatment, our blog has been closely examining California's Healthy Workplace, Healthy Families Act of 2015.

As we discussed in previous posts, this landmark law establishes that qualifying workers in the Golden State -- whether full-time, part-time, temporary or per diem -- are entitled to a minimum of 24 hours of paid sick leave each work year.

Use of paid sick leave

The law dictates that qualifying employees can use paid sick leave for themselves or a family member for any of the following reasons:

  • Care or treatment of an existing health condition, unexpected illness and/or medical emergency
  • Preventative care (physical exams, flu shots, etc.) or diagnosis
  • Specified purposes for those victimized by crimes such as sexual assault, domestic violence or stalking

As to who is considered a family member for these purposes, the list includes children, spouses, registered domestic partners, parents, siblings, grandparents and grandchildren.   

While the determination as to how much paid sick leave is to be used is entirely up to an employee, it's nevertheless important to understand that employers are legally permitted to establish a policy requiring a minimum of two hours of paid sick leave at a time.

Furthermore, advanced notification must be provided by an employee for planned sick leave, such as scheduled medical appointments, while notice must be provided as soon as is practical in the event of any unforeseen medical events or emergencies.  

Balances

Given the reality that employees often find themselves uncertain as to their sick time balance, the law requires employers to set forth the current number of sick days that an employee has remaining either on each paycheck or document issued with the paycheck.

The law also requires employers to maintain records documenting how many sick days employees have earned and used over a three-year period, and allow employees to access this information.

We'll revisit this conversation in a future post, exploring how employees who take their allocated sick leave must be paid.

Please consider speaking with a skilled legal professional as soon as possible if you have any reason to suspect that your employer has taken illegal actions concerning your earnings.

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Omid Nosrati
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