New Law Expands Mandatory Paid Sick Leave

GOV. GAVIN Newsom has signed legislation that will increase the amount of paid sick leave days California workers are eligible for.

The law, SB 616, will expand the minimum number of paid sick leave days that employers are required to provide to five days (40 hours) from the current three, or 24 hours.

With an effective date of Jan. 1, 2024, employers have a short time to ramp up and adjust their human resources systems to account for the changes, particularly if they already use the accrual method for building up sick leave. Here’s what you need to know.

Options for providing sick leave

Employers will have these options for providing sick leave:

Up front: Employers may provide all five paid sick days up front at the start of the year.

Accrual: If an employer uses the this method, it has two choices to build up sick leave:

  • Accruing one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked, or
  • Providing 40 hours of paid sick leave by the 200th day of the year (up from the current 24 hours by the 120th day of the year).

The law also changes the minimum accrual cap, which is the floor for how many days or hours an employer can allow workers to accumulate paid sick days. The current cap is six days — or 48 hours. Starting in 2024, that minimum accrual cap will be 10 days, or 80 hours.

One more change: Under the new law, employees must be eligible for at least all five days or 40 hours of sick leave or paid time off within nine months of employment.

What’s not changing

The new law keeps in place requirements that all full-time, parttime and temporary workers are eligible for sick time if they meet the following qualifications:

They work for the same employer for at least 30 days in a year, and

They complete a 90-day employment period before taking any paid sick leave.

Paid sick leave can be used to:

Recover from physical/mental illness or injury.

Seek medical diagnosis, treatment or preventive care.

Care for a family member who is ill or needs medical diagnosis, treatment or preventive care.

The takeaway

Employers may provide more paid sick leave hours or days off than the law requires.

With this law taking effect next month, it’s important that employers start preparing and planning for the changes now.


  • Update your paid sick leave,
  • Ensure you are complying with the state law or your local ordinance (if more generous than the new law),
  • Update applicable accrual rates or frontloading numbers in your payroll systems, and
  • Train management on the new law