Workers in California have paid family leave and paid sick leave rights. Know how to exercise your rights about paid sick leave, paid family leave, and pregnancy disability leave, including how the benefits work, and who is eligible for each. Download our Paid Leave toolkit in English, Spanish, Mandarin, Korean, and Vietnamese. These toolkits offer guidance on how to communicate with your employer about what you need.

Paid Sick Leave in California

Pregnancy Disability Leave

Paid Family Leave

Do all workers in California receive paid sick leave?

You are eligible for paid sick leave if:

  • You’ve worked for your employer for at least 90 days
  • You’ve worked in the State of California for at least 30 days

How much paid sick leave will I receive? 

California law mandates that employers provide a minimum of 24 hours (3 days) of paid sick leave every year. You accrue 1 hour of paid sick time for each 30 hours you work. Your employer can cap the amount accrued at 24 hours (3 days) each year. Your employer may provide you with more paid sick leave, but can’t give you less. If you work in Berkeley, Emeryville, Long Beach, Los Angeles, Oakland, San Diego, San Francisco, or Santa Monica, you may be entitled to additional days. 

If I work in Berkeley, Emeryville, Long Beach, Los Angeles, Oakland, San Diego, San Francisco, or Santa Monica, how much paid sick leave do I have? 

  • Berkeley: 72 hours (approx. 9 days)
  • Emeryville: 72 hours (approx. 9 days)
  • Long Beach: 5 days
  • Los Angeles: 48 hours (approx. 6 days)
  • Oakland: 72 hours (approx. 9 days)
  • San Diego: 80 hours (approx. 10 days)
  • San Francisco: 72 hours (approx. 9 days)
  • Santa Monica: 72 hours (approx. 9 days)

Are there any businesses that don’t have to provide their workers with paid sick leave?

No. All businesses must provide their workers with at least 3 days of paid sick leave each year. 

For what purpose can I take paid sick leave?

You can use your paid sick leave if: 

  • You’re sick
  • You need to care for a sick family member
  • You have a medical appointment
  • You need to take your family member to a medical appointment
  • You need to take preventative care
  • You’re caring for a family member who needs to take preventative care
  • You’re seeking medical care, psychological counseling, direct services, or safety planning related to your own domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking 

Can I take paid sick leave intermittently?

Yes. You can take a full day, a half day, or just two hours. Your employer can’t mandate how much paid sick leave you take, but they can require you to take at least 2 hours of paid sick leave at a time. 

Do undocumented workers receive paid sick leave?

Yes. Immigration status is not a barrier to receiving paid sick leave.

Will I still get paid when I take paid sick leave?

Yes. You will receive 100% of your salary. Your employer will pay you directly. You do not need to apply for payment with a government agency.

Can I use paid sick leave if I’ve been laid off?

No. You can only use paid sick leave to get paid during days that you would otherwise be working.

Am I required to tell my employer why I need the time off?

No. You don’t need to tell your employer why you need the time off. Saying “I need to take a paid sick day” is sufficient.

Can my employer require a doctor’s note?

Your employer can require a doctor’s note if you take three sick days in a row.

Can my employer require that I find someone to cover my shift before letting me take paid sick leave?

No. While your employer can request that you attempt to find someone to cover your shift, they cannot require it as a condition of taking leave. Even if you cannot find someone to cover your shift, you are still entitled to take your leave.

Can my employer give me fewer hours, reduce my pay, or otherwise retaliate against me for taking paid sick leave?

No. It is illegal for your employer to retaliate against you for taking paid sick leave.

How can I request paid sick leave?

You can request to take paid sick leave orally or in writing. If you request paid sick leave orally, it can be helpful to send your employer an email or letter confirming your request

Pregnancy Disability Leave

Eligibility for Pregnancy Disability Leave (Job Protection)

You are eligible for PDL if you are:
1. Disabled by pregnancy, childbirth, or related condition
2. Work for an employer with 5+ employees

If you meet the eligibility for Pregnancy Disability Leave, you are entitled to:

  • Restoration to the same or equivalent job
  • Continuation of health insurance benefits while you’re on leave
  • Reasonable accommodations at work

State Disability Insurance (Wage Replacement) 

If you are unable to work or are working less due to disability, including pregnancy, you can apply for State Disability Insurance (SDI). SDI is a benefit program through the State of California that most California workers pay into through taxes. About 1.2% of most workers’ paychecks go into SDI. SDI provides you with 60% or 70% (depending on income) of your regular income for up to 52 weeks while on leave. To receive these benefits, you need to fill out a form for SDI through the California Employment Development Department.

Eligibility for SDI (Wage Replacement)

You are eligible for SDI if you:
1. Are unable to work, or working less, due to disability
2. Pay into State Disability Insurance (SDI). You can check if you pay into CA SDI by checking your pay stub.

You can apply for SDI online or mail a paper form to the California Employment Development Department.

PDL (Job Protection) + SDI (Wage Replacement)

If you meet the eligibility requirements of both PDL and SDI, then you are entitled to:

  • Pregnancy disability leave when you are disabled by pregnancy, childbirth, or related condition for up to 4 months
  • 60% or 70% of your income for up to 52 weeks when you are unable to work or working less due to disability, including pregnancy 
  • Restoration to the same or equivalent job
  • Continuation of health insurance benefits while you’re on leave
  • Reasonable accommodations at work

In California, there are laws that provide “job protection” and “wage replacement” to eligible workers to take time off for bonding with a new child and/or caring for a sick family member. “Job protection” means that you can take time off of work and won’t be fired. “Wage replacement” means that when you take time off of work, you’ll be paid. The job protection and wage replacement laws are separate, but they can work together to provide eligible workers with time off of work during which they can’t be fired and they’ll get paid. 

Paid Family Leave (Wage Replacement)

Paid Family Leave (PFL) is California’s leave law that partially replaces your income when you take time off of work to care for a new child or seriously ill family member. California workers can take PFL to:

  • Bond with a newborn baby or new child through adoption or foster care within the first year of birth or placement; or
  • Care for a seriously ill child, parent, parent-in-law, grandparent, grandchild, sibling, spouse, or registered domestic partner 

PFL is a program through the State of California that most Californian workers pay into through taxes. About 1.2% of most workers’ paychecks go into SDI (State Disability Insurance), which funds PFL. You can take up to 8 weeks each year of PFL, which can be taken all at once or in parts. You receive 60% or 70% of your regular income while on leave. Depending on your income, the California Employment Development Department will determine whether you receive 60% or whether you receive 70%. 

Eligibility for PFL (Wage Replacement)

You are eligible to receive PFL if you:
1. Need to bond with a new child or care for a seriously ill family member;
2. Pay into California State Disability Insurance (CA SDI). You can check if you pay into CA SDI by checking your pay stub; and
3. Earn at least $300 from which SDI deductions were withheld during the base period.

Citizenship and immigration status do not affect your eligibility for PFL benefits. You can receive PFL benefits even if you are undocumented. We recommend you review Legal Aid at Work’s resource guide for undocumented workers: and call their free hotline (800-880-8047) or consult with an attorney before you apply. 

You can apply for PFL online or mail a paper form to the California Employment Development Department (EDD).

Download our Paid Leave toolkit in English, Spanish, Mandarin, Korean, and Vietnamese.

ACLU SoCal, the California Work & Family Coalition, and ROC (Restaurant Opportunity Coalition) the Bay collaborated to develop this toolkit, with support from the Women’s Rights Project of the National ACLU.