Currently, there is no California state law that requires private employers to provide employees with paid or unpaid sick leave, although many employers do grant it as an important employee benefit. It is important to remember, however, that if sick leave is promised, an employer may have a legal obligation to grant it. California courts have held that under certain circumstances, benefits, policies, or procedures as published in employee handbooks or in similar company media may constitute implied contracts that are binding and enforceable. Employers should regularly review policy statements made in handbooks or elsewhere to ensure that the statements accurately reflect current policies and that they comply with federal and state law. If not, these policies should be changed or modified, and employees should be formally notified of the changes.
Effective July 1, 2015, all employers, both public and private, will be required to provide paid sick leave to their employees, unless exempted by law. See the section on Paid Sick Leave, below for details.