The California (CA) legislature passed S.B. 616, which expanded the State’s existing paid sick leave mandate, the Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act of 2014, in significant ways.

The bill increases paid sick leave from three days to five days for qualified CA workers. The law takes effect on January 1, 2024.

What is it? SB 616 is an amendment to the current CA labor code that increases paid sick leave for qualified workers from three days to five days per year. Additionally, the following changes were made:

  • Covered employees must accrue at least five days or 40 hours of leave by the 200th day of employment (current law requires three days or 24 hours within 120 days of employment).
  • Standard accrual is still 1 hour per 30 hours worked. Optional method of accruing hours is acceptable as long as a covered employee has no less than five days or 40 hours of accrued paid sick leave by the 200th day of employment or each calendar year or other 12-month period.

Which employers must comply? All employers with workers in CA.

What if an employer already has PTO or a similar leave policy in place? There is no requirement to have a separate paid sick leave benefit if the current policy has the same or more generous conditions as the current law.

Can employers front load the five days of sick leave? Yes, the same as before in that if the employer front loads the paid sick leave, no accrual or carryover of unused time is required.

However, if an employer uses the accrual method instead of front loading, the amendment requires the employer to increase the accrual and carryover cap to ten days or 80 hours (increased from six days or 48 hours).

What should employers do next? Update your sick leave policies to comply with the increase in hours and be sure to distribute to employees by January 1, 2024.

A new CA Paid Sick Leave poster will be available soon on the CA Department of Industrial Relations website.


IMA will continue to monitor regulator guidance and offer meaningful, practical, timely information.

This material should not be considered as a substitute for legal, tax and/or actuarial advice. Contact the appropriate professional counsel for such matters. These materials are not exhaustive and are subject to possible changes in applicable laws, rules, and regulations and their interpretations.

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