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Paid Sick Leave Law Gives California Employees More Time Off

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Paid sick days are no longer an option for California employers as a new law takes effect this week.

Baristas Kyla Wiegand and Eduard Andrusyak are part-time employees at Chocolate Fish Coffee Roasters in East Sacramento. But come Wednesday, a new benefit is brewing at work—paid sick leave.

"I don't know how many of them know about it yet, but we'll do an announcement and explain it to them and I think they'll be really happy," said owner Edie Baker.

MORE INFO: Employees, Employers Learn More About Paid Sick Leave Law

She heard about the law, but didn't know it was going into effect on Wednesday

Under the new law:

  • Nearly all California employees can accrue one hour of paid leave for every 30 hours worked
  • Employees can use their sick days after 90 days of employment.
  • Employers can cap the sick leave at 24 hours, or 3 days a year.
  • Employers must display how much sick leave employees have on their paystub documents.

"It doesn't look like you have to have a note from a doctor because sick leave is defined as care for yourself, an illness for yourself, or family members," said attorney Robert Bowman, Jr.

He says a lot of people are in the same boat as Baker and haven't heard about the new law.

"I think our phone's going to be very busy later this week," he said.

He says the rule broadly defines sick leave, but it includes preventative care, like scheduled doctor and dentist appointments.

"Employees, if they don't use it, they can carry it over to the following year," he said.

Baker now has to rework her business software and crunch some numbers.

"Minimum wage went up," she said. "It's going up again in January. And now if you add this on, so now every employee gets three days extra per year. So you have to look at that as a total package when you're hiring someone."

But she thinks it's the new law is a good way to take care of California workers like Wiegand.

"Hopefully none of us here will get sick," Wiegand said. "But, worst comes to worst, at least we'll be able to pay the bills."

There are only a few types of employees not covered by the paid sick leave law, including union workers with their own contracts.

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