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Sick leave laws differ city by city in California

Most employers are aware of sick leave rules that went into effect in 2015 as part of the California Healthy Workplace Healthy Family Act. However, some may not be aware that several cities have their own paid sick leave requirements. Under California law, all but a few employers must allow their workers to use 24 hours or up to three days of sick leave in 12 months.

Several cities adopt sick leave requirements

Several of the state’s largest cities had their own sick leave policies in effect by the beginning of 2019. Some of these provisions are different from or conflict with state requirements. Those cities include:

  • Los Angeles
  • San Diego
  • San Francisco
  • Santa Monica
  • Oakland
  • Berkeley
  • Emeryville

Which provisions must employers follow?

Some employers may be confused over which sick leave rules they must follow when these local requirements conflict with state law. However, employers must follow the provisions that are more favorable to the employee.

An employee can be limited to using 24 hours or three days of paid sick leave in a 12-month period under state law. However, Emeryville does not require an annual cap on sick leave, so employers cannot limit the number of paid sick leave hours.

Which employees qualify for sick leave?

In general, workers qualify for sick leave under city-specific rules when they work two hours in a week and meet other requirements imposed by that city. In San Diego, workers also qualify if they are eligible for minimum wage or participate in the Welfare-to-Work program.

Employers should know which cities’ requirements differ from state law regarding sick leave for employees. An experienced employment law attorney here in California can examine or update an employer’s current rules to make sure they are following all state and city laws.