Q: Can an employer just take away your sick hours you have aquired? I went from 37 to 5 hours without using them.
A reduction in available sick days without them being used may be problematic.
Under The Healthy Workplaces Healthy Families Act, California employers are required to provide paid sick leave to certain employees. An employer can satisfy the requirements by providing the full three days of leave at the beginning of each year, or by using an accrual method whereby the employee earns one hour of paid sick time for every 30 hours worked. (Certain cities, such as Los Angeles, require additional sick days for employees working within the city limits.)
There are limitations to the paid sick leave requirements. For example, an employer may limit use of paid sick days to 24 hours or three days in each year of employment. Additionally, while an employee’s accrued paid sick days will carry over to the following year of employment, an employer may limit the accrual amount to 48 hours.
Unlike other paid time off, such as earned vacation, an employer does not need to pay for unused sick leave at the conclusion of your employment.
That being said, you should consider consulting with an employment attorney to discuss the facts of your case and your rights in more detail.
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