True or False, California Law on Employee Benefits
1. A California employee is entitled to paid vacation.
False. California law does not entitle an employee to paid vacations. If an employer has an oral or written vacation policy, paid vacation time is earned by an employee on a pro rata basis for each day of work and is considered part of the employee’s wages. As a result, paid vacation time cannot be forfeited. (Suastez v. Plastic Dress Up, 31 Cal.3d 774 (1982)) An employer, however, may place a reasonable cap on the total amount of vacation time that may be earned by an employee. (Boothby v. Atlas Mechanical, 6 Cal.App.4th 1595 (1992)) When the employee quits or is terminated, all of the vacation time that has been earned by the employee must be paid at the time of termination. (Labor Code § 227.3)
2. A California employee is entitled to paid sick leave.
False. California law does not require employers to provide paid sick leave. Most employers, however, participate in the State Disability Insurance Plan (SDI) by making certain payroll deductions. These employers must give newly hired employees and employees leaving work due to pregnancy or non-occupational sickness or injury a copy of a notice of their disability insurance rights and benefits due to sickness, injury or pregnancy. (Unemployment Insurance Code § 2613) Any employer that has a sick leave policy, must allow an employee to use part of his/her available sick leave for the illness of a child, parent or spouse. For each calendar year, the minimum amount of available sick leave that an employee may use for the illness of a family member is the number of sick days that the employee would accrue over a six month period. (Labor Code § 233)
3. Every California employer must carry workers compensation insurance.
True. Except for the state itself, all California employers must have workers’ compensation insurance to cover injuries or illnesses sustained on the job. (Labor Code § 3700, et seq.) An employee who suffers a work related injury or illness that requires medical treatment beyond first aid must notify his or her employer in writing within 30 days of the injury or illness, (Labor Code § 5400)
4. A California employee is entitled to paid holiday time.
False. California law does not require an employer to provide employees with: (1) paid time off for holidays; (2) observe any holidays, or (3) pay an employee any additional compensation for working on a holiday.
5. A California employee is entitled to medical insurance.
False. California law does not require an employer to provide employees with medical insurance. Any employer who does provide employee medical benefits must give 15 day written notice prior to discontinuing any of those benefits. (Labor Code § 2806) A terminated employee may be entitled to continued coverage under the federal COBRA act or California’s continued coverage requirements.
6. A California employee is entitled to severance pay.
False. California law does not require an employer to provide severance pay to an employee upon termination of employment.