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In California, does an employer have to pay for accrued sick time to a person getting laid off.

Concord, CA |

Our company is either closing or moving to another state.

Attorney Answers 3


  1. No. California law does not require an employer to pay employees for accrued sick leave when the employment relationship ends. This is different from accrued vacation leave or accrued paid time off, both of which must be paid the same as accrued wages.

    *** All legal actions have time limits, called statutes of limitation. If you miss the deadline for filing your claim, you will lose the opportunity to pursue your case. Please consult with an experienced employment attorney as soon as possible to better preserve your rights. *** Marilynn Mika Spencer provides information on Avvo as a service to the public, primarily when general information may be of assistance. Avvo is not an appropriate forum for an in-depth response or a detailed analysis. These comments are for information only and should not be considered legal advice. Legal advice must pertain to specific, detailed facts. No attorney-client relationship is created based on this information exchange. *** Marilynn Mika Spencer is licensed to practice law before all state and federal courts in California, and can appear before administrative agencies throughout the country. She is eligible to represent clients in other states on a pro hac vice basis. ***


  2. An employer must pay accrued vacation time, but not accrued sick time. Some companies use Paid Time Off ("PTO"), which includes both. Usually, though, the company handbook will explain the difference between sick time and vacation time in terms of accrual basis.

    If the company is moving, you may also want to review the provisions of the Federal and California Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification ("WARN") Acts. I've linked a useful summary below. If after reviewing the summary you believe you meet the requirements, or if you cannot determine whether you meet the requirements, I recommend that you contact an experienced employment law attorney for assistance.

    I wish you luck.


  3. I would say it kind of depends. If you are given "paid time off" as opposed to vacation and sick days, then you may be able to get paid for that accrued PTO. However, if the employer specifically designates accrued vacation time and allows sick days, all that the employer is required to pay you for upon termination is the vacation time. (The cases generally provide that if there is any ambiguity about whether a benefit is wages v. sick time, the Courts will generally lean toward the employee...)

    Disclaimer- The information you obtain at our web-site or through postings on such sites as this is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for specific advice regarding your individual situation. Any response given here is not intended to create, nor does it create an ongoing duty to respond to questions. The response does not form an attorney-client relationship, nor is it intended to be relied upon as legal advice. The response given is based upon the limited facts provided by the person asking the question. To the extent additional or different facts exist, the response might possibly change.

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