As of January 1, 2024, California’s paid sick leave laws have changed, and keeping up with these changes is an important element of remaining compliant as an employer. Your employees are integral to growing your business, and an experienced California business law attorney can help you protect your company in the process. 

The Shift

Prior to January 1, California employers could limit paid sick leave to 24 hours – or 3 workdays – a year. The new paid sick leave law changed this requirement, and now, employers must allow employees at least 40 hours – or 5 work days – of paid sick leave each year. The kind of plan you offer dictates how sick leave must be accrued in order to remain in legal compliance.

40 Hours or 5 Days – Whichever is More

The new law requires employers to provide employees who have earned full leave with 40 hours or five days of paid sick leave per year, whichever is more. This means that if your employees – or some of your employees – work 10-hour days, they’re entitled to 50 hours of paid sick leave per year as opposed to 40. Conversely, if your employees – or some of your employees – work 6-hour days, they are still entitled to the full 40 hours of paid sick leave, which is more than five full days of work for them.  

Accrual vs. Up-Front Policy

Employers can choose between an accrual or an up-front policy. 

Up Front

The up-front policy makes the full amount of paid sick leave available to employees at the beginning of each work year – except for some lag time for new hires. 


The accrual method, on the other hand, allows employees to earn paid sick leave over time and to carry accrued time into the next year of employment. Generally, employees must earn 1 hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours of work. 

While other accrual schedules can be used, employees must accrue at least 24 hours of paid sick leave by calendar day 120 of employment and must accrue the additional 16 hours – to total 40 – by calendar day 200 of employment. 

The new law includes all the following changes for the accrual schedule:

  • For an accrual calculation rate of at least one hour per 30 hours worked, the accrual cap has increased from 48 hours to 80.
  • While employees can bank up to 80 hours – or 10 days – of accrued paid sick days in a year, employers can limit the number of hours used to 40 per year. 
  • For those companies that combine leave in a PTO bucket, the accrual rate has increased from 24 to 40 hours for paid sick leave, which very likely means a change in the calculation process.

The accrual rate to achieve one paid hour of sick leave per 30 hours of work for employees who put in 40 hours a week is calculated as follows:

  • The weekly rate is 1.4 hours.
  • The biweekly rate is 2.8 hours.
  • The semi-monthly rate is 3.03 hours.
  • The monthly rate is 6.07 hours.

An Experienced California Business Law Attorney Can Help

California is exacting when it comes to employment law compliance, and Claire Kalia at Kalia Law P.C. is a practiced California business law attorney who is well prepared to help you seamlessly adapt to the state’s updated paid sick leave requirements, which have been enhanced substantially. To learn more, please don’t wait to contact us or call us at 650-701-7617 today.


- Claire Kalia


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