In the midst of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) global pandemic, the CDC has recommended that everyone take steps to protect themselves and their communities, including avoiding close contact with others. If you have to take time off work sick or your workplace is closed, what are your legal rights? If your child’s school is closed, can you stay home with your children?
Find out more about your right to paid sick time in Santa Monica, California below. Please note that you may also have an additional right to emergency paid leave for COVID-19 purposes under federal law, as described in more detail here.
NOTE: Visit here for information about California’s statewide paid sick time law.
1) What does the Santa Monica Paid Sick Time law do?
It gives workers sick time that can be used to recover from physical/mental illness or injury; to seek medical diagnosis, treatment, or preventative care; to care for a family member who is ill or needs medical diagnosis, treatment, or preventative care; or to address needs that may arise if the worker is a victim of domestic violence, a sexual offense, or stalking.
2) Am I covered?
If you work as an employee in Santa Monica for at least 2 hours in a particular week, you are probably covered, whether you are a full-time, part-time, or temporary worker. However, the law does not cover federal, state, and municipal employees, school district employees, and a few other narrow groups.
3) How much paid sick time can I earn?
You earn 1 hour of paid sick time for every 30 hours worked. If your workplace has 26 or more workers, you can earn up to 72 hours of paid sick time per year. If your workplace has fewer than 26 workers, you can earn up to 40 hours of paid sick time per year.
All covered employees are protected against being fired or punished for using or requesting their sick time (including threats, discipline, demotion, reduction in hours, termination, etc.).
4) What if my work or my child’s school or daycare is closed for a health emergency?
You cannot use your sick time because your work or your child’s school or day care is closed unless you would otherwise be able to use your sick time (for example, if you are sick or caring for a sick family member).
5) Which of my family members are covered by the law?
Under the law, you can take sick time to care for yourself or a child, spouse, registered domestic partner, parent, parent of a spouse or registered domestic partner, grandchild, grandparent, or sibling.
6) What if I already have paid leave or paid time off?
All covered employers must provide paid sick time that meets the requirements of the law. Vacation time or paid time off that can be used as either vacation or sick time does not count toward the law’s requirements.
7) When can I begin using my sick time?
You start earning sick time immediately but cannot use it until 90 days after the start of your employment.
All covered workers are protected against being fired or punished for using or requesting sick or safe time. If you have a problem—or want more information—call A Better Balance’s free legal helpline at 1-833-NEED-ABB.
The Los Angeles County Department of Consumer & Business Affairs (DCBA) is in charge of enforcing this law.
Please note that this fact sheet does not represent an exhaustive overview of the paid sick time law described, and it does not constitute legal advice. It is possible that additional provisions not described in this fact sheet may apply to a worker’s specific circumstances or category of employment.