In the state of California, is it mandatory for me to give my employees PTO?
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I am a small business, and I would say about 3 employees. I was wondering in the state of California, is it mandatory for me to give my employees PTO? If so, I believe it is 9 days/year? Thank you!
The answer depends on your definition of PTO. Paid time off has become a generic term, but it typically breaks down into two categories: vacation/personal days off and sick time off. Let’s start with vacation/personal days.
Current California law does not require businesses of any size provide vacation or personal time off – either paid or unpaid.
If a business decides voluntarily to provide paid vacation to its employees, vacation then becomes an ‘earned benefit.’ That means if the employee earns, for example, 5 vacation days for every year worked, they own that benefit and are entitled to be paid for the time earned even if they leave the company.
Under the Healthy Workplace Families Act of 2014, any employee who works in California for 30 or more days per year entitled to paid sick leave. Full-, part-time and temporary employees earn at least one hour of paid leave for every 30 hours worked. These are earned from the first hour of employment. Employees may carry over sick time (maximum 48 hours total) into the following year if they are unused during the year they’re earned.
If your employees work a 40 hour week for an entire year, they will have earned about 70 hours sick time, based on the 1 hour for every 30 worked formula. For typical 9 to 5 workers, that’s about 8 ½ days per year.
During the pandemic, California did enact additional sick time rules. The Supplemental Paid Sick Leave (SPSL) bill was recently renewed, but these rules apply to businesses with 26 employees or more.
FYI – sick time is not ‘earned’ time under California law. When an employee leaves the company they are not entitled to be paid for any sick time they accrued but did not use.
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