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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.

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  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...)

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