California's Kin Care Leave & Workers Rights in California (2022)

Purpose of taking leave

Voluntary benefits under FFCRA

(Families First Coronavirus Response Act)

Care-taking for apersonwho either:
  • Is under a local, state, or federal quarantine order; or
  • Is self-quarantined on advice of a health care provider
Up to2 weeks* ofpaid sick leaveat2/3of the employee’s regular pay rate (or the applicable state or federal minimum wage, if higher).

The maximum is $200 a day and $2,000 total.

Care-taking for achildwhose school is closed and childcare is unavailable due to COVID-19.^ 2 weeks* ofpaid sick leaveat2/3of the employee’s regular pay rate (or the applicable state or federal minimum wage, if higher); and

Up to10 additional weeksº ofexpanded family and medical leaveat2/3of the employee’s regular pay rate (or the applicable state or federal minimum wage, if higher).

The maximum pay for these12 weeksis $200 a day and $12,000 total.

*2 weeks is80 hours(or the equivalent for part-time workers).
ºOnly workers employed at least30 days priorto the leave request are eligible for these 10 extra weeks.
^Employers withfewer than 50 workerscould be exempted if it would jeopardize the business’s viability.

Kin care leaveis time provided to employees to take time off work to care for a family member. This allows employees to use up to half of theirsick leavefor specificfamily membersas defined by California law.

Family Members

The types of family members covered by the law expanded in 2016, and now includes:

  • a child — biological child, adopted child, foster child, stepchild, legal ward, or a child for which the employee stand’sin loco parentis;
  • a parent — biological parent, adoptive parent, foster parent, stepparent, or legal guardian;
  • a spouse;
  • a registered domestic partner;
  • a grandparent;
  • a grandchild; or
  • a sibling.

Notably,kin care leavedoes not extend to mothers-in-law or fathers-in-law.

Number of Days Off of Work

(Video) Know Your Rights: Paid Sick Leave and Other Labor Laws in California

The number of days an employee may take off of work for kin care leaveis calculated as:

  • an amount not less than the sick leave
  • that would be accrued during 6 months
  • of the employee’s then-current rate of entitlement.

This effectively means that up tohalfof an employee’s yearly allotted sick leave may be used for kin care purposes.

Reasons an Employee Can Take Time Off from Work

A California employee is entitled to take accrued sick time off from work in order to:

  • seek diagnosis, care, or treatment for an existing health condition of an employee’s family member,
  • support a family member who was the victim ofdomestic violence,
  • support a family member who was the victim of sexual assault, or
  • support a family member who was the victim of stalking.

Employee Violations

An employer is not allowed to take anadverse employment actionagainst an employee for proper use of kin care leave. Employers may not:

  • demote
  • wrongfully terminate
  • refuse to rehire
  • fail to promote
  • suspend, or
  • in any other waydiscriminateagainst the employee for taking kin care leave.

Employees whose rights are violated may

  • be entitled toreinstatementandback pay, and
  • may file a complaint with the Labor Commissioner, or
  • may file a civil action for money damages.

Below, ourCalifornia employment and labor lawyersdiscuss the following frequently asked questions aboutCalifornia workplace leave lawsfor kin care:

  • 1. What is kin care leave?
  • 2. What family members are included for kin care leave?
  • 3. How much time can I take off from work?
    • 3.1 What if my employer does not offer accrued sick leave?
  • 4. For what reasons can I take off of work for kin care leave?
  • 5. What if my employer violates my rights?
    • 5.1 Can I file a claim with the Labor Commissioner?

California's Kin Care Leave & Workers Rights in California (1)

(Video) Paid Sick Leave in California

Kin care leave is time provided to employees to take time off work to care for a family member.

1. What is kin care leave?

Kin care leaveis time provided to employees to take time off from work to care for a family member. This allows employees to use up to half of their sick leave for specific family members as defined by California law.1

2. What family members are included under kin care leave?

Family memberscovered under this California law include:

  • a child, whether a biological child, adopted child, foster child, stepchild, legal ward, or a child for which the employee stand’sin loco parentis;
  • a parent, whether a biological parent, adoptive parent, foster parent, stepparent or legal guardian;
  • a spouse;
  • a registered domestic partner;
  • a grandparent;
  • a grandchild; or
  • a sibling.2

Kin care leavedoes notextend to mothers-in-law or fathers-in-law.

The types of family members were expanded in 2016. If an employer claims that the applicable family member is not applicable though he or she falls under one of the above categories, the employer likely is basing that assertion on an outdated law.

3. How much time can I take off work?

The number of days an employee make take off work forkin care leaveis calculated as:

  • an amount not less than the sick leave
  • that would be accrued during 6 months
  • of the employee’s then-current rate of entitlement. 3

This effectively means that up tohalfof an employee’s yearly allotted sick leave may be used for kin care purposes.

3.1 What if my employer does not offer accrued sick leave?

Under California law, nearly every employee is guaranteed sick leave. This was not true before 2015, when employees without accrued sick leave were out of luck in terms of kin care leave.

Employers arerequiredto:

  • provide a minimum of 1 hour of sick leave
  • for every 30 hours an employee works
  • after the employee has worked 90 days for the employer and
  • at least 30 days in any given year.4

There are only a few exceptions to this law. If your employer tells you that you are the exception, an experiencedemployment law attorneywill let you know if the employer is telling the truth.

4. For what reasons can I take off work for kin care leave?

A California employee is entitled to takeaccrued sick time offwork in order to:

(Video) Friday's Five: Five common questions about California’s paid sick leave requirements

  • seek diagnosis, care, or treatment for an existing health condition of an employee’s family member,
  • support a family member who was the victim of domestic violence,
  • support a family member who was the victim of sexual assault, or
  • support a family member who was the victim of stalking.

Supporting a family member may include, but is not limited to:

  • assisting in medical care or transportation to medical care,
  • seeking court relief,
  • relocating his or her residence, or
  • seeking counseling for abuse.

5. What if my employer violates my rights?

If an employerviolatesthe employee’s rights by taking an adverse employment action against him or her, the employee may be entitled to:

  • reinstatement,
  • back pay, or
  • other actual damages or one day’s pay (whichever is greater).5

5.1 Can I file a claim with the Labor Commissioner?

An employee whose rights were violated can file a complaint with the Labor Commissioner, who is expected to enforce the provisions of the California law.

Alternatively, the employee can file acivil lawsuitagainst the employer to seek money damages and other legal relief. Employees may also be entitled to attorney’s fees if successful in the lawsuit.6

California's Kin Care Leave & Workers Rights in California (2)

Call us for help…

For questions about kin care leave or to confidentially discuss your case with one of our skilled California employment attorneys, do not hesitate tocontact us at the Shouse Law Group.

We have local law offices in and around Los Angeles, San Diego, Orange County, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, San Jose, Oakland, the San Francisco Bay area, and several nearby cities.

Legal References:

  1. California Labor Code § 233.
  2. California Labor Code § 245.5.
  3. California Labor Code § 233(a).
  4. California Labor Code § 246.
  5. California Labor Code § 233(d).
  6. California Labor Code § 233(e).
(Video) Cal Kin Care Act 3 R Naymark

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FAQs

Is California kin care job protected? ›

The legislation, which becomes effective January 1, 2021, amends two sections of the California Labor Code that currently provide job-protected leave to employees who are victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking.

How does kin care work in California? ›

“Kin Care” is a right granted to eligible employees, including UC employees, under the California Labor Code. Kin Care authorizes employees to use up to one-half (½) of the sick leave that they accrue annually, to take time off to care for a sick family member. You do not receive additional sick leave under Kin Care.

Do you get paid for kin care in California? ›

Kin care laws allow employees to take paid time off in order to care for sick family members. This article details everything you need to know about kin care laws in California, including who is eligible, the amount of time permitted, and steps to take in the event of employer retaliation or denial.

Does kin care still exist in California? ›

Essentially, California's “Kin Care” law allows employees to use up to half of their annual sick leave to care for ailing family members. California employment law aims to protect employees from employer retaliation and discrimination.

Can kin care be denied? ›

Federal laws do not prohibit discrimination based on an employee or job applicant's status as a caregiver or based on their family responsibilities. However, when kin care leave is denied by an employer that provides sick leave, California law does provide for a kin care discrimination lawsuit.

Who qualifies for California kin care? ›

“Family member” for purposes of kin care is defined by Labor Code §§ 233 and 245.5(c) to include an employee's child, parent or guardian, spouse or registered domestic partner, grandchild, grandparent, and sibling.

Is Kincare the same as FMLA? ›

An eligible employee may take Kin Care to care for an ill family member. For purposes of Kin Care, an “illness” encompasses minor illnesses, a cold, the flu, and any serious health conditions. This is different from Family and Medical Leave (“FMLA”), which is limited to serious health conditions.

Does kin care run concurrently with FMLA? ›

When using sick leave to attend to an ill family member, California's Kin Care Leave and the County's twelve (12) personal sick days will run concurrently. In accordance with County guidelines, an employee can start and stop using accrued paid time any time during the FMLA, CFRA or PDL leave.

Can an employer require a doctor's note in California 2021? ›

The paid sick leave law provides that “an employer shall provide paid sick days . . . upon the oral or written request of the employee.” The paid sick leave law does not allow an employer to condition the right to use paid sick days on a requirement that the employee bring a doctor's note.

Can I use PTO for kin care? ›

Kin Care is a law that enables employees to use some of their sick leave for the care of a family member. The use of Kin Care is determined by the California Family Rights Act. Employees who accrue sick time, which is the case with Keck employees, may apply up to 50% of their PTO toward Kin Care.

When can you use kin care? ›

Kin care leave is time provided to employees to take time off work to care for a family member. This allows employees to use up to half of their sick leave for specific family members as defined by California law. Care-taking for a person who either: Is under a local, state, or federal quarantine order; or.

Do you get paid for stress leave in California? ›

Can you get workers' compensation benefits for stress, just as you would for any other physical injury? There's no simple answer. California does not have a law explicitly covering stress relief, but workers' compensation laws do allow you to file a claim for psychiatric injury arising from workplace stress.

What can Kincare be used for? ›

What Is Kin Care? “Kin Care” is a right granted to eligible employees, including UC employees, under the California Labor Code. Kin Care authorizes employees to use up to one-half (½) of the sick leave that they accrue annually, to take time off to care for a sick family member.

Can an employer ask why you are calling out? ›

No federal law prohibits employers from asking employees why they are out sick. They are free to ask questions such as when you expect to return to work. They may also require you to furnish proof of your illness, such as a note from a physician.

What can I use Cesla for? ›

Employers are required to allow employees to use a portion of their sick leave benefits to care for ill family members. Under CESLA, illness is defined to include minor illnesses such as colds, flu, etc., as well as serious health conditions.

Can I use sick days to care for a family member California? ›

You can take paid sick leave for yourself or a family member, for preventive care or diagnosis, care or treatment of an existing health condition, or for specified purposes if you are a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking.

What are you allowed to do when off sick? ›

Even if an employee is signed off sick, there may be various activities that they can legitimately undertake during their absence from work. For example, an employee may be genuinely unfit to work but perfectly able to go grocery shopping, go for a walk or run, or visit friends and family.

What is lc233? ›

(c) No employer shall deny an employee the right to use sick leave or discharge, threaten to discharge, demote, suspend, or in any manner discriminate against an employee for using, or attempting to exercise the right to use, sick leave to attend to an illness of a child, parent, spouse, or domestic partner of the ...

What does CFRA cover? ›

The California Family Rights Act (CFRA) provides eligible employees with up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave to care for their own serious health condition or a family member with a serious health condition, or to bond with a new child.

What does Cesla mean? ›

CESLA The California Employee Sick Leave Act provides that employees may use up to the number of hours of the sick leave they accrue in a six month period for the diagnosis, care or treatment for an existing health condition, or for preventative care for themselves as well as close family members, and for certain ...

How many sick days do you get per year in California? ›

Under California's permanent paid sick time law: you earn 1 hour of sick time for every 30 hours worked, up to a maximum of 48 hours or 6 days per year. However, your employer may limit your use of paid sick time at 24 hours or 3 days in a year.

Can I use PTO for kin care? ›

Kin Care is a law that enables employees to use some of their sick leave for the care of a family member. The use of Kin Care is determined by the California Family Rights Act. Employees who accrue sick time, which is the case with Keck employees, may apply up to 50% of their PTO toward Kin Care.

What can I use Cesla for? ›

Employers are required to allow employees to use a portion of their sick leave benefits to care for ill family members. Under CESLA, illness is defined to include minor illnesses such as colds, flu, etc., as well as serious health conditions.

When can I use kin care? ›

Kin care leave is time provided to employees to take time off work to care for a family member. This allows employees to use up to half of their sick leave for specific family members as defined by California law. Care-taking for a person who either: Is under a local, state, or federal quarantine order; or.

Can I use sick days to care for a family member California? ›

You can take paid sick leave for yourself or a family member, for preventive care or diagnosis, care or treatment of an existing health condition, or for specified purposes if you are a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking.

Do you get paid for stress leave in California? ›

Can you get workers' compensation benefits for stress, just as you would for any other physical injury? There's no simple answer. California does not have a law explicitly covering stress relief, but workers' compensation laws do allow you to file a claim for psychiatric injury arising from workplace stress.

Does kin care run concurrently with FMLA? ›

When using sick leave to attend to an ill family member, California's Kin Care Leave and the County's twelve (12) personal sick days will run concurrently. In accordance with County guidelines, an employee can start and stop using accrued paid time any time during the FMLA, CFRA or PDL leave.

Can an employer deny a doctor's note? ›

Answer: Theoretically, an employer may refuse a medical note that does not provide sufficient detail concerning the reason for absence.

What do I tell my doctor to get stress leave? ›

Step 2: Get your doctor's note for stress leave
  1. Be open about your symptoms.
  2. Be upfront about your feelings. Don't leave out any details.
  3. Listen to your doctor's advice.
  4. If needed, book follow-up appointments.
  5. Explain your situation clearly and what you feel triggers your predicament.
13 Apr 2022

Can an employer ask why you are calling out? ›

No federal law prohibits employers from asking employees why they are out sick. They are free to ask questions such as when you expect to return to work. They may also require you to furnish proof of your illness, such as a note from a physician.

What is a serious health condition under CFRA? ›

A serious health condition is an illness, injury, impairment, or physical or mental condition that causes or requires: Any period of incapacity or treatment in connection with, or after inpatient care.

Can an employer require a doctor's note in California 2021? ›

The paid sick leave law provides that “an employer shall provide paid sick days . . . upon the oral or written request of the employee.” The paid sick leave law does not allow an employer to condition the right to use paid sick days on a requirement that the employee bring a doctor's note.

What are you allowed to do when off sick? ›

Even if an employee is signed off sick, there may be various activities that they can legitimately undertake during their absence from work. For example, an employee may be genuinely unfit to work but perfectly able to go grocery shopping, go for a walk or run, or visit friends and family.

What does CFRA cover? ›

The California Family Rights Act (CFRA) provides eligible employees with up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave to care for their own serious health condition or a family member with a serious health condition, or to bond with a new child.

Can my employer ask for a doctor's note in California? ›

Employers can request a doctor's note as long as it does not affect the employee's rights for freedom from discrimination and privacy. Employers' doctor's note for work policies must apply to all employees. If one employee receives different treatment than another, the employer may face discrimination claims.

Can my employer force me to use sick time in California? ›

The employer cannot require that the worker use paid sick leave; that is the worker's choice. If the worker decides to use paid sick leave, the employer can require they take a minimum of two hours of paid sick leave. The determination of how much paid sick leave will be used is up to the employee.

Can my employer refuse to pay me sick pay? ›

Employer discretion

Your employer can choose to make an exception and pay you sick pay even if you don't qualify under the company rules. Also, some sick pay schemes say that payments are 'at the employer's discretion', which means your employer can refuse payment if they think the absence is unjustified.

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