California – Leave Laws

Vacation Leave

In California, employers are not required to provide employees with vacation benefits, either paid or unpaid. CA Dept. of Industrial Relations Benefits FAQ. If an employer chooses to provide such benefits, it must comply with the terms of its established policy or employment contract.

If an employer chooses to have an established policy, practice, or agreement to provide paid vacation, certain restrictions are placed on it regarding how it fulfills its obligation to provide vacation pay. Employers must pay employees for all accrued or earned vacation upon separation from employment, regardless of the reason for the separation. CA Dept. of Industrial Relations Vacation FAQ.

An employer can place a reasonable cap on vacation leave preventing an employee from accruing or earning vacation over a certain number of hours. CA Dept. of Industrial Relations Vacation FAQ.

When an employment relationship ends, all vacation earned but not yet taken by the employee must be paid at the time of termination. CA Labor Code 227.3.

It is illegal in California for an employer to implement a “use-it-or-lose-it”” policy requiring employees to use accrued vacation prior a set date or lose it. CA Dept. of Industrial Relations Vacation FAQ.

Sick Leave

California law requires most employers to provide sick leave to most employees. For more information about sick leave requirements, visit our California Sick Leave Law page.

Employees may also qualify for payment for sick leave through California’s State Disability Insurance program or its Paid Family Leave program. An employer in California may be required to provide an employee extended unpaid sick leave in accordance with the California Family Rights Act, Family and Medical Leave Act, or other federal laws.

Holiday Leave

California law does not require private employers to provide employees with either paid or unpaid holiday leave. CA Dept. of Industrial Relations: Holidays. In California, a private employer can require an employee to work holidays. A private employer does not have to pay an employee premium pay, such as 1½ times the regular rate, for working on holidays, unless such time worked qualifies the employee for overtime. If an employer chooses to provide either paid or unpaid holiday leave, it must comply with the terms of its established policy or employment contract.

State holidays

Visit our California State Holidays page for a list of holidays recognized and observed by the state of California as well as information regarding state laws governing holiday leave for public employers and employees.

Jury Duty Leave

An employer is not required to pay an employee any wages for time spent complying with a jury summons or serving on a jury.

An employer may not discharge or otherwise penalize an employee for taking time off to serve as on a jury or trial jury, if the employee, prior to taking the time off, gives reasonable notice to the employer of he or she is required to serve.

An employee may use vacation, personal or compensatory leave, if available, for time taken responding to a jury summons or serving of a jury.

CA Labor Code 230

Voting Leave

California law requires employers to provide employees sufficient time off to vote. The time off must be either before the employees’ shifts begin or after their shifts end unless otherwise agreed to by the employer and employee. The employer is only required to pay employees for up to two (2) hours of time off to vote. Employers must give their employer at least three days notice of their intention to take voting leave if they know or have reason to know the leave will be necessary. CA Election Code 14000

At least ten (10) days prior to the date of the election, an employer shall post notice conspicuously so workers can see the law pertaining to their voting rights. CA Election Code 14001

Bereavement Leave

California law does not require employers to provide employees bereavement leave or leave to attend funerals. Bereavement leave is leave that is taken by an employee due to the death of another individual, usually a close relative. Employers may choose to provide bereavement leave and may be required to comply with any bereavement policy or practice they maintain.

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