The Basics of California’s Sick Leave Requirement

As of July 1, 2015 employees must be offered at least 3 days (24 hours) of sick leave per year, with the option to rollover any unused days to the following year, allowing for a total accrual of at least 48 hours (six days). 

  • All California employees who work more than 30 days in a year as of 1/1/2015 qualify, including part-time and temporary employees. 
  • Employees hired before July 1, 2015 will start accruing sick leave on July 1, 2015. Employees hired after July 1, 2015 will start accruing sick leave on their first day of work. 
  • Employees are entitled to use accrued sick days beginning on the 90th day of employment.

Basically, employers can choose to offer sick leave in one of two ways:

  • Incrementally offer at least one hour of paid leave for every 30 hours worked.
  • Offer all employees the minimum paid sick leave (3 days) at the beginning of each year. 

Sick pay is based on the employee’s regular hourly rate. Employers must also show how many days of sick leave employees have available on their pay stub or a document issued the same day as their paycheck. 

Please note that this statewide law does not preempt local ordinances. For example, employers with employees working in San Francisco are required to comply with the San Francisco Paid Sick Leave Ordinance (PSLO) as well. Check with your local small business administration if you need further guidance.

Paid Sick Leave Compliance Checklist

To be compliant with new and existing requirements, here’s a checklist of what you’ll need to prepare:

  1. Provide a written copy of your sick leave policy to employees at time of hire (example document).
  2. Display a poster explaining your sick leave policy.
  3. Provide at least 3 days (24 hours) of paid sick leave to each eligible employee per year.
  4. Show how many days of sick leave an employee has available, either on their pay stub or a document issued the same day as their paycheck (use Square Payroll’s Paid Time Off/Sick Leave feature, use this template, or check out TSheets).
  5. Keep records of hours earned and used for a period of three years.

Read more about California’s paid sick leave law.

If you have specific questions regarding labor and pay requirements, contact the EDD and/or your local government offices. Be sure to consult a professional about local ordinances which may apply to your business.

Track Sick Leave Through Square Payroll

Square Payroll’s Paid Time Off (PTO) feature lets you set up a Sick Leave policy that you can track through your Square Dashboard. Your employee’s sick leave balance is displayed on their pay stubs, allowing them to keep tabs on their balance. Read more about our PTO/Sick Leave feature. 

Track Sick Leave with an Excel Template 

This Sick Leave Tracker can help you keep track of your employees’ paid sick leave hours.

To get started using the Sick Leave Tracker:

  1. Go to the “Sick Leave Tracker” tab and enter the names of all of your employees in row 3.
  2. Each time you run payroll, fill in the Pay Period column with the applicable period and enter the number of hours (including overtime) each employee worked during the period. 
  3. The Total will automatically update for you. Feel free to add extra rows and columns when you run out of room (follow the guidelines in yellow).
  4. When your employee uses their sick leave, enter hours in the “Total Sick Leave Used” row. The balance will automatically update with the number of hours they have left.
  5. Be sure to post or share this information. You are required to show how many days of sick leave an employee has available, either on their paystub or a document issues the same day as their paycheck.

Track Paid Time Off and Sick Leave with TSheets

If manually tracking paid sick leave isn’t for you, we recommend TSheets. TSheets has fairly extensive support for paid time off (PTO) tracking and provides the ability to specify PTO time on a per-hour-worked basis. Visit the TSheets website for a free 14-day trial.

Still need help? Ask the community

Visit community forum