Understanding Kin Care: A California Law

January 26, 2023 - 12:59 pm - 3 min read

What is Kin Care?

Kin Care is a California state law that requires employers to allow their employees to use their accrued sick leave to take care of sick family members. This means that employees can take time off work to care for their child, spouse, domestic partner, parent, grandparent, grandchild, sibling, or any person related by blood or affinity. The law was enacted in 1999 to protect employees who often face a difficult choice between attending to their own health or taking care of their family members.

The Kin Care law applies to all employers in California who provide paid sick leave to their employees. Under the law, employees can use up to half of their annual accrued sick leave, or the amount of sick leave that would accrue over six months of employment, to care for their sick family members. However, employees are not entitled to more paid sick leave than they would have earned if they had not taken any Kin Care leave.

Eligibility for Kin Care Law

Not all employees are eligible for Kin Care leave. To be eligible, an employee must work for an employer that provides paid sick leave. Furthermore, an employee must have worked for the employer for at least 90 days before taking Kin Care leave. Employees who work less than 30 days per year or are covered under a collective bargaining agreement that addresses Kin Care are exempt from the law.

Employer Obligations

Employers are obligated to inform their employees of their right to take Kin Care leave. Employers must also ensure that employees taking Kin Care leave are not discriminated against, harassed, or retaliated against for exercising their rights under the law. Employees must be allowed to return to the same or a comparable job after taking Kin Care leave. Employers who violate the Kin Care law risk being fined and sued for damages, including back pay and benefits, as well as attorney fees.

Benefits of Kin Care Law

The Kin Care law benefits both employees and their families. Employees are able to take time off work without fear of losing their jobs or facing disciplinary action, which enables them to attend to their family’s health needs and ensure their well-being. The law also promotes a healthier and more balanced workplace by reducing the spread of illnesses and preventing employees from spreading illness to others.

The Kin Care law also benefits employers by improving employee morale and productivity. When employees have access to paid time off to care for their family members, they are more likely to be satisfied with their jobs and are less likely to experience burnout or stress-related illnesses. This leads to increased employee retention, improved job performance, and reduced healthcare costs associated with employee health.


In conclusion, the Kin Care law is an important protection for California employees who need to care for their sick family members. Under the law, employees have the right to use their paid sick leave to attend to the health needs of their family members. Employers who violate the law risk being fined and sued for damages. The Kin Care law benefits both employees and employers by promoting a healthier and more balanced workplace. Employers should inform their employees of their rights under the law and take steps to ensure that employees are not discriminated against for exercising those rights.


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