Kin Care Case

The California Supreme Court decided that unlimited sick leave is not subject to California's "kin care" law. We blogged about this case (the court of appeal's opinion), McCarther v. Pacific Telesis, here.

To remind you - the company had an unlimited paid sick leave policy. You could take up to five days of paid sick time off. Once five days were up, you had to work a half day, and then you could start taking another five days of paid sick time off again. Yes, there is a union contract.

Labor Code section 233 requires employers to permit employees to use up to 1/2 of sick leave to care for a covered relation. So, the plaintiff in this case argued that she was entitled to use 1/2 of unlimited...

The Supreme Court, disagreeing with the court of appeal, decided that this unlimited sick pay policy was not "sick leave" under Labor Code section 233. Therefore, there was no kin care obligation - and no obligation to permit employees to use up to 1/2 the annual sick pay benefit.

The Supreme Court therefore ducked whether the company could apply its attendance control policy to the use of sick leave to care for a relative, when the employer applied the policy to time off for one's own sickness. The court of appeal had said that the employer was within its rights to apply the same conditions to kin care as to sick leave for one's own illness.

Not a lot of employers have unlimited sick leave. So, this case won't have a LOT of applicability. But for employers interested in the court's ruling, it is here.