Know Your Rights to Sick Leave
Almost everyone has a right to some form of paid sick leave
Through a combination of federal, state and local legislation, almost everyone has the right to paid sick leave. The information below is general. If you need help figuring out what benefits you are entitled to receive, call the resources in the “get help” section.
If you work in unincorporated Sonoma County or in some cities, such as Santa Rosa, and you do not work from home, you are entitled to up to 80 hours of emergency paid sick leave, up to 100 percent of your wages. You may use your sick leave if:
- You have COVID-19 symptoms or have been in close contact with someone who has or is likely to have COVID-19, or you have been advised by a health care provider to isolate or quarantine, or if you work in the food sector and your employer will not allow you to work because they are concerned about the transmission of COVID-19.
Additionally, depending on your organization and the location of your work, some employees may be entitled to use such sick leave benefits for child and/or elder care purposes, including:
- You are likely entitled to a percentage of your wages for caring for someone who is: sick, getting tested for COVID or has been advised by a medical provider to self-quarantine.
- You are likely entitled to a percentage of your wages if you’ve lost child care due to COVID-19 school or childcare closures and need time off to make other child-care arrangements.
If you are not sure of what benefits you are entitled to, you are not receiving the sick pay you are entitled to, or you have had an employer retaliate against you for asking for sick leave, please contact California Rural Legal Assistance at (800) 357-9513 or Legal Aid of Sonoma County at (707) 308-2512 for free to learn about your options. You may be entitled to back pay and additional money.
If you are an employer
Employers who fall under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act may qualify for dollar-for-dollar reimbursement through federal tax credits. Qualifying wages are those paid to an employee who takes leave under the Act for a qualifying reason, up to the appropriate (federal) per diem and aggregate payment caps. Although the Families First Coronavirus Response Act is no longer mandatory, employers may voluntarily elect to provide COVID-19 paid sick leave benefits to employees for which they may be eligible to receive federal tax credits.
Generally, employers are required to post a copy of laws that pertain to sick leave in a prominent location. This is required by the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, Assembly Bill No. 1867, Assembly Bill No. 1522, the County of Sonoma Ordinance and others. You can find the required posting for County Ordinances in English here.
If you would like assistance determining what rights your employees have to sick leave you may utilize the State Bar of California’s tools to find an attorney who can give you advice to protect your business and your employees.
Visit SoCoLaunch for additional resources for businesses.
These laws grant you the right to sick leave
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Proposed legislation at the state and federal level may expand employee’s rights to sick leave. The County will continue to update this page as laws change or are extended.