Capping the California Sick Leave Benefit

Robin Noah

Robin Noah


In the midst of misinformation and confusion, July 1 marked the day California employers were required to begin providing paid sick leave benefits to their eligible employees.

A key concern is employer’s actively managing compliance by following the rules. For example as an employer you are required to have a policy in place to cap Sick Leave benefit at 3 Days.

California’s new sick leave law also carries consequences for noncompliance. If employers do not comply with the new law, they can face Labor Commissioner Enforcement measures that include awarding back pay, damages and penalties up to $4,000. Small employers included.

The California Chamber of Commerce is one of the organizations that is providing information for administering the law. Here are some highlights from CEO Allan Zaremberg’s article of the July 10, 2015 Cal Chamber newsletter.

Sick Leave Policy Important

There is a lot of misinformation about what this law requires. An employers must create a policy addressing the amount of leave they are providing or else they will be subject to the statutory mandated accrual rate of one hour of sick pay for every 30 hours an employee works.

“This means that if employers are not clear about capping their leave at three days, full-time employees will be entitled to 69 hours of paid leave per year and they will be allowed to carry that over to the next year, and so on. This is nearly nine days—not three—if the employee works a 40-hour workweek. It is critical that employers understand that they must have a policy in place—preferably in writing—that clearly communicates to employees about the amount of leave they are providing.”

The law also includes several notice, posting and recordkeeping mandates The Labor Commissioner has released the poster, and it’s available on the Labor Commissioner’s website

  • Wage Theft Notice: The Wage and Employment Notice (Labor Code Section 2810.5), which employers have been required to provide to nonexempt employees since 2012, has been updated by the Labor Commissioner to contain information about an employee’s right to accrue and use paid sick leave and about employee protections under the law.
  • Pay-Stub Notice: An employer must provide an employee with a written notice setting forth the amount of paid sick leave available to the employee each pay period.
  • Recordkeeping Requirements: Employers will need to keep records for at least three years which document the number of hours that each employee worked and paid sick days accrued and used by each employee.

The law also specifies that employers are prohibited from retaliating against employees who take sick leave.


Author:  Robin Noah, Executive Coaches of Orange County,