Employment Law: California Paid Sick Leave

Under California Law, “sick leave” means “accrued increments of compensated leave” provided by an employer for an employee’s use because of:
* the employee’s physical or mental condition that makes the employee unable to perform his duties;
* the employee’s need to obtain a professional diagnosis or treatment for a medical condition; or
* other medical reasons. Cal. Labor Code section 233(b)(4).

“Sick leave” does not include benefits provided under the ERISA plan, insurance benefits, workers’ compensation benefits, unemployment compensation, disability (SDI) payments, or other benefits not payable from the employer’s general assets. Cal. Labor Code section 233(b)(4)(c)

An employer policy that counts sick leave taken to care for a child, parent or spouse as an absence from work that could lead to discipline or discharge is a per se violation of Cal. Labor Code section 233, entitling aggrieved or wrongfully terminated employee for appropriate legal relief as provided by section 234.

In the event of a violation of section 233, an employee is entitled to reinstatement, actual damages or one day’s pay, whichever is greater, and to reasonable attorney fees as per section 233(d).