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Sick Pay / PTO Rights Under Labor Code Section 246

Employment Lawyers Serving Workers Throughout California

It can be stressful to become ill when you financially support your family. You may need time off to recover but be unable to afford to take this time unpaid. Sick pay is limited and calculated under state law. If you are concerned about sick pay or PTO rights under Labor Code section 246, you should discuss your situation with the experienced California wage and hour lawyers at The Nourmand Law Firm.

Sick Pay and PTO Rights Under Labor Code Section 246

Under section 246, if you work for the same employer for 30 or more days once your job starts, you are entitled to be paid for a certain number of sick days. You should receive at least an hour of sick leave for every 30 hours that you worked. However, your yearly sick leave can be capped at 24 hours or three days in a 12-month period, whichever provides you with a greater benefit.

Special rules have been enacted to address illnesses that arise because of the COVID-19 pandemic. When your employer has at least 25 employees, it must grant you two workweeks of COVID-19 supplemental paid sick leave, whether to recover from the illness, get a diagnosis of COVID-19, self-quarantine based on governmental orders, care for a family member who has caught COVID-19 or is self-quarantining, care for a child whose daycare or school is closed because of the pandemic, or get vaccinated.

Accrued Paid Sick Leave

Your accrued paid sick leave days will carry over to the next year of employment when you do not use them. However, your boss can restrict your use of accrued paid sick days to 24 hours or three days for each year that you are employed.

Certain sick leave rules apply only to providers of in-home supportive services. If you meet the definition of a provider of in-home supportive services, your leave is calculated a bit differently. Leave may be taken for eight hours or for one day in each calendar year or 12-month period.

Paid Time Off Policy

Your employer is not required to give you additional paid sick days when it adheres to a paid time off policy. Your employer’s policy in this regard is likely set forth in writing in your employment handbook. In order to qualify as paid time off under California law, the employer’s policy needs to satisfy the same accrual requirements that are required under the law.


A California employer cannot deny your right to use sick time or retaliate against you for using sick time. If your employer refuses to permit you the sick leave to which you are entitled or takes an adverse action against you for exercising your right to sick leave, our lawyers may be able to file a lawsuit for damages on your behalf.


If you were fired or laid off, you may wonder whether your employer needs to pay you for the sick days that you accrued over the years but did not take. Your California employer is not required to compensate you for accrued sick days upon your resignation, retirement, or termination. However, if you separate from your employer, and you are rehired within one year from the date of separation, your unused paid sick leave and previously accrued sick leave must be reinstated, and you are entitled to use the unused paid sick days upon starting the job again. At its discretion, your employer can also choose to lend you paid sick days before you actually accrue them. Our lawyers may be able to help you assert your rights in this regard.

Consult an Attorney About Sick Pay or PTO Rights Under Labor Code Section 246

Many employees are rightfully concerned about whether they are entitled to sick pay and whether they are being treated fairly and in accordance with the law. If you are concerned about sick pay, you should consult our experienced California attorneys. For more than 20 years, The Nourmand Law Firm has represented workers in claims in Los Angeles, San Bernardino, and Riverside Counties, as well as Oakland and Sacramento, among other areas. Complete our online form or call us at 310-553-3600 or 800-700-WAGE (9243).

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