As a California employee, you have many different rights. For instance, you have the right to work in an environment free from racial discrimination. You also have the right to file a workers' compensation claim if you are injured. However, vacation time and sick time are typically benefits, not rights.
Here are a few key facts to know about vacation time and sick time in California:
1. Vacation time is up to your employer.
According to The State Bar of California, your employer can decide whether or not to grant vacation time, and if so, when you can use it. You don't have the right to use it whenever you want, unless your employer says so. However, if you don't use the vacation time that your employer gives you, that money should be given to you in your final paycheck.
2. Holidays aren't a right, either.
As with vacation time, your employer decides whether or not to grant time off for holidays.
3. Sick time is trickier, especially if it involves an ill family member.
While your employer isn't obligated to pay you for sick time, other laws do give you certain rights in regard to medical leave. For instance, the Family Medical Leave Act and the California Family Rights Act may provide you with up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave while protecting your job security. No, you won't be getting a paycheck, but at least you'll have a job to come back to.
In some cases, you may fall under California's Paid Family Care Leave Act, which means you could get up to six weeks off to care for a sick spouse, parent or child. In this situation, you would be paid partial wages. This may also apply if you recently gave birth to or adopted a child.
If you are unable to continue working due to a pregnancy-related condition, you may qualify for four months off (unpaid) under the Pregnancy Disability Leave Act.
4. An attorney can help you understand exactly what your rights are.
To learn more about your rights in the workplace, including unpaid time off for a disabling condition or a loved one's illness, talk with a lawyer. He or she can provide the detailed and personalized counsel you require.