When you're sick the last thing you want to worry about is losing your job.
The flu is severe and widespread this season and people who are sick need some time off work to rest and heal. Showing up to the workplace with the flu may spread the virus to others and impact companies financially while people are out sick.
It's important to be up to date with not only your company's sick leave policies, but also state laws for paid sick leave.
In 2015, California enacted a law, known as the Healthy Workplace, Healthy Families Act, mandating all employers to provide paid sick leave to their employees, even if they work part-time. In general, the law requires employers to provide at least 24 hours-- or three days-- of paid sick leave a year. The days can either be accrued or available up front.
If accrued, employees can accrue one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked and accruals must be carried over year to year. Employers can put a cap on accrual to 48 hours, or six days, of sick paid leave a year.
An 'up front' policy is where employees receive the maximum available sick time in full at the beginning of the year.
If employers had sick leave policies that already complied with the current law prior to it going into effect, the policy could be "grandfathered" or kept as is as long as no modifications were made after the fact.
All paid sick leave must be paid at an employer's regular rate of pay for the individual employee.
So what happens once you use up all your sick leave?
While an employer can't deny or discipline an employee for using their available sick paid leave, the law doesn't prohibit employers from taking action against an employee from being out even if he or she is actually sick. The law doesn't protect all time taken off because of an illness, the protection is limited to the employees available sick days.
While state laws cover basic rights California employees have to paid sick leave, policies vary from company to company. Businesses can provide more than the mandated sick paid leave, so time off for illness will vary depending on the employer. As long as the minimum legal requirement is met, can offer additional paid sick days or other paid leave such as vacation, bereavement or personal time off.
However, as an employee, you can only take sick paid leave for yourself or a family member for preventive care or diagnosis, care or treatment of an existing health condition or for specified purposes if you are a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking.
Preventative care includes an annual physical or a flu shot appointment.
Employers can take action against an employee if a sick day is used for vacation or other purposes not covered under the law.
For more information about paid sick leave in California visit the Labor Commissioner's Office website.