Over the past year, several California cities have joined San Francisco and the state of California in passing their own paid sick leave ordinances. Employers in these cities must therefore make sure to comply with both state and local sick leave laws. In general, under these laws, paid sick time (PST) can be used for the employee's, or the employee's family member's, sickness, for the purpose of receiving medical care, preventative care, treatment or diagnosis, and if time off is needed because the employee is a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking.

These laws generally define a "family member" to include a child, parent, spouse, registered domestic partner, legal guardian, ward, grandparent, grandchild or sibling, or the child or parent of a spouse/registered partner, except that San Francisco's paid sick leave ordinance defines a family member to include an employee's "designated person," and the Los Angeles ordinance covers "any individual related by blood or affinity whose close association with the employee is the equivalent of a family relationship."

Below is a summary of the key provisions of the PST requirements under California state law, as well as the requirements in San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego and Santa Monica (note that several other California cities, including Berkley, Oakland and Emeryville, have also implemented sick leave laws). These laws generally apply to all employers, though some of the effective dates and accrual caps may vary depending on the employer's size. Notably, the laws also contain notice posting and records requirements and preclude employers from retaliating against employees who use PST. Where a conflict exists between California law and a city ordinance, employers should follow the requirement that is more generous to employees.

Click here to view our summary of the key provisions of recent and upcoming PST requirements in California.

Bottom Line

California employers should review their employee handbooks and personnel practices with counsel to ensure compliance with both state and local paid sick leave laws. California employers must not assume that compliance with California's sick leave law alone is sufficient. Employers that operate in cities that are discussed in this Alert may also consider implementing training for HR staff and managers on paid sick leave requirements

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.