“Kin Care” Updated and Expanded
: California law allows full-time employees to use one-half of their available annual sick leave up to a maximum of 60 hours in a calendar year to care for themselves or a family member (Child, Parent, Spouse / Registered Domestic Partner, Grandparent, Grandchild, Sibling).
While Kin Care has been a law in California since 2000, it recently was updated and expanded.
What is Kin Care?
Kin Care is a California law that allows employees to use up to one-half of their annual sick leave entitlement to care for a family member or themselves. Sick leave taken under Kin Care is protected and may not be used as a basis for disciplining an employee for absenteeism.
Who is eligible to take time off under Kin Care?
Permanent and temporary employees who accrue sick leave are eligible to take time off under Kin Care. Temporary extra help employees who receive 24 hours of sick leave annually under the Paid Sick Leave law, are also covered by Kin Care.
How much time off can an employee take under Kin Care each calendar year?
Full-time County employees accrue up to a maximum of 120 hours of sick leave a year. Under Kin Care, employees may take up to one-half of their annual sick leave accruals (or up to a maximum of 60 hours) to care for eligible family members or self each calendar year. This amount is pro-rated for part-time employees.
An employee who has exhausted their Kin Care hours for the calendar year may be eligible (provided they have sick leave balances) the following Jan 1st.
For what reasons can an employee take time off under Kin Care?
Employees may use leave under Kin Care for the diagnosis, care or treatment of an existing health condition, or preventive care for themselves or eligible family member. An employee who is a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking is also eligible.
What family members are covered under Kin Care?
Employees may use their sick leave to care for:
Is any documentation or verification required to take Kin Care?
- Self. Kin Care now covers time off for sick leave self.
- Child: biological, adopted, foster, step, legal ward or a child the employee stood in loco parentis to (regardless of age or dependency status, i.e. adult children).
- Parent: biological, adoptive, foster, stepparent, or legal guardian of an employee or employee’s spouse (i.e. in-law) or registered domestic partner, or person who stood in loco parentis to employee.
- Spouse or registered domestic partner
No, employees taking leave under Kin Care do not need to provide medical documentation to substantiate their need for leave.
Does Kin Care apply to vacation, CTO or holiday in lieu (HIL) hours used in lieu of sick leave?
Kin Care leave only applies to accrued
sick leave hours. If an employee does not have sufficient sick leave balances to cover their time off, it is not covered by Kin Care.
Does FMLA/CFRA run concurrently with Kin Care?
It may. Time off to care for certain family member, such as spouse, child, domestic partner, etc.) may qualify for leave under FMLA/CFRA and Kin Care. However, time off to care for siblings, grandchildren (unless loco parentis) and grandparents generally do not qualify for leave under FMLA/CFRA.
*Assumes permanent full-time employee unless otherwise stated.
Questions? Please contact your HR Service Team.
- Employee calls in requesting sick leave self for 5 days or 40 hours. He currently has 100 hours of sick leave hours accrued and has not used any sick leave this calendar year. Is this time protected by Kin Care?
The time off is protected by Kin Care (and possibly FMLA/CFRA, depending on the circumstances). Employees may use up to one-half of their annual sick leave accrual, or 60 hours, (if they have the balances) for Kin Care sick leave. The employee has accrued enough sick leave to cover the time off and has not exhausted their Kin Care entitlement, so the time off was protected.
- Employee called in sick leave self for more than three days. Does she need to provide a medical note clearing her to return to work?
In general, most County labor agreements have language permitting the department to request a medical note substantiating the need for sick leave. However, the new Kin Care Law prohibits an employer from requesting or requiring a medical note if the time off was covered by Kin Care.An exception would be if the employee returns to work and indicates they have an injury and therefore have restrictions with their work (e.g. can’t lift over 20 lbs, work only 4 hours a day, elevate their right foot, etc.). In this situation, you may request the employee provide a medical note stating their restrictions and how long they are in effect to determine if a reasonable accommodation may be made.
- An employee’s brother is seriously injured and he requests time off to care for him. Employee has accrued 500 hours of sick leave, but minimal vacation balances. Employee is represented and his labor agreement does not list siblings as an eligible family members for sick leave. Can he use his sick leave balances to care for his brother? If yes, how much?
Siblings are considered eligible family members under Kin Care. Employees may use up to one-half of their sick leave annual accrual ( up to a maximum of 60 hours), once accrued. Any additional time off beyond the Kin Care protection, he will need to use vacation or leave without pay. (Provided the department approves his time off).NOTE: In general, time off to care for an ill or injured sibling (non-military) is not covered by FMLA or CFRA. However, the employee may be eligible for Paid Family Leave (PFL) benefits through the State of California.