Nanny Sick Leave Policies: What Are the Laws in Los Angeles?
When it comes to domestic staff like nannies, there is no overarching federal law that governs benefits like paid time off and sick leave. Instead, state and local governments are given the opportunity to set their own legal requirements. The state of California also does not set any specific requirements, but the city of Los Angeles does.
Here’s what you need to know about nanny sick leave laws in L.A. and what you can expect from the different methods of providing paid leave.
LA Has a Mandatory Minimum for Sick Leave
Under Los Angeles law, all household staff members who work for at least 30 days within the year following their date of hire are entitled to earn a minimum of 48 hours of paid sick leave.This means that employers are required to give at least 48 hours of sick leave to even temporary and part-time nannies, as long as they meet the minimum number of working days.
Although it may seem silly to enforce a legal minimum amount of sick leave for nannies and other household staff, the idea behind it is to give employees sufficient time to recover without losing pay and to protect employers, employers’ families, and other staff members from getting sick as well.
Sick Leave Options: Accrual, Upfront, and Other Paid Time Off
In Los Angeles, there are a few different methods by which a nanny can receive time off for illness: sick leave accrual, upfront sick leave, and generalized paid time off. Before you decide which to offer, take a moment to understand the differences between these options and the unique benefits that each type presents.
The accrual method involves earning (or “accruing”) sick time as the nanny works. For every 30 hours worked, the nanny can earn one hour of sick leave. If you wish, you may cap accrual at 72 hours and cap use of earned leave at 48 hours. You may also disallow the use of any sick time until the employee has worked for you for at least 90 days. Unused sick leave hours from the previous year are carried over to the next year, but you are not required to pay out unused sick leave if the employee is terminated.
This method helps ensure a long-term working relationship and prevents the possibility that an unscrupulous employee might use up their paid sick time early on and then quit. This can also benefit employees by helping them manage their sick time rather than using it all up at once.
The primary downside of the accrual method is it’s possible a household employee can get sick before they’ve accrued enough paid leave to cover it, forcing them to come to work sick and expose your family to their illness. If they do choose to stay home, they’ll be missing out on income.
The upfront method of providing leave is essentially the opposite of accrual, as it involves giving the employee all of their sick leave upfront at the start of their employment. Although there is no need to accrue paid sick leave, there is a usage cap of 48 hours per year. Like the accrual method, unused sick leave hours from the previous year are carried over to the next year, but you don’t need to pay out unused sick leave upon termination.
One of the major benefits of this option is that your domestic staff will have paid sick leave available to them even if they get sick fairly early on in their employment with you. With sick time available, there’s a reduced risk that they will take the chance of coming to work while sick and expose your home and family to illness-causing germs.
Of course, offering nannies all 48 hours of paid sick leave right away does create the risk that they will use all of it up quickly, leaving you feeling like they haven’t quite “earned” the benefit and leaving them out of leave for the rest of the year.
Other Paid Time Off
Another option is to forgo the specific label of sick leave and offer a general amount of paid time off (PTO) that your employees can use as they see fit. With this option, you must still provide at least 48 hours of paid leave, but you are welcome to offer as many hours as you wish in excess of those requirements.
Within the generalized PTO option, you may choose to offer it upfront or via accrual, just like the standard sick leave options. Unlike dedicated paid sick leave, however, unused PTO must be paid out at termination.
Sick Leave Notice and Documentation
When a household employee chooses to use some of their sick leave/PTO, LA law allows you as the employer to request a reasonable amount of advance notice given the circumstance. If there is a known need for leave at a certain time, such as for non-emergency surgery, you may require at least a couple of weeks of notice beforehand. If there is a sudden illness or emergency that can’t be foreseen, on the other hand, you may request that employees give notice of using sick leave as soon as they are reasonably able.
You may also request some basic form of documentation from employees showing the need for sick leave, but you may not require disclosure of the medical condition. It’s best only to request documentation when they have already gone through their minimum 48 hours of leave and you have serious concerns about misuse. Otherwise, it may be viewed as an attempt to interfere with their protected mandatory sick leave, putting you in legal hot water.
When Choosing a Sick Leave Option, Consider Everyone’s Best Interests
Don’t just go with whatever you think is easiest—choose the option that you think will best serve your needs and your employees’ needs. You should also consider whether your relationship with a particular employee may be better served by one option than another.
- Your nanny qualifies for paid sick leave but will only be working a few hours a week while your children are home for the summer. Since the nanny won’t be spending as many hours with your family, there’s a smaller chance that they’ll need to use their paid sick time. Because of this, you might decide to go with an accrual method that gives them the required one hour of paid leave per 30 hours worked.
- The nanny you intend to hire will be beginning cancer treatment in the coming weeks. In this case, you might decide that you want to leave things open and offer plenty of upfront general PTO so that they can take the time they need when they need it.
Find the Right Nanny and Learn More About Sick Leave Requirements at Staffing at Tiffanie’s
We at Staffing at Tiffanie’s understand how important it is for you to find the right help for your home. We strive to be one of the best domestic staffing agencies in the area, offering a variety of skilled, pre-screened candidates to suit the needs of any household. We’ll also help you understand all the legal requirements you’ll face as an employer and provide you with a complete hiring package and support.