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Employees May Use Sick Time For Kin Care

Prior to 2021, California law permitted employees to use up to one-half of their accrued and available sick leave to attend to the illness or preventative care of a family member. Employers were prohibited from discriminating against employees because they used their sick leave for such purposes. Why? Some employers did not want their employees using their paid sick time to care for someone else. And, if employer's designated non-kin care leave a kind care, it would deplete the number of days available for use in caring for a sick family member.

Beginning in 2021, an employee has sole discretion to designate sick leave taken for kin care, i.e., caring for a sick family member. Specifically, this law is designed to prevent an employer's designation of an employee's usage of sick days as kin care, which would intentionally or erroneously deplete the employee's available kin care leave. Accordingly, employees are provided with the right to designate what type of sick days they wish to take. Violation of this law entitles an aggrieved employee to reinstatement and actual damages, or one day's pay, whichever is greater, and to appropriate equitable relief.

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