McCarther v. Pacific Telesis Group, 48 Cal. 4th 104 (2010)

Plaintiffs in this case worked as service representatives for different Pacific Telesis companies, which are signatories to various collective bargaining agreements (“CBAs”). The applicable CBA in this case provides employees with paid time off for any day in which they miss work due to their own illness or injury for up to five consecutive days in any seven-day period so long as the employee returns to work (even for a partial day) following any period of absence. The employer did not pay employees for absences to care for ill family members. In 1999, California enacted the so-called “kin-care” statute (Labor Code § 233), which requires employers that provide sick leave to permit the employees to use up to half of their annual accrued and available sick leave entitlement to attend to an illness of a child, parent, spouse, or domestic partner of the employee. The legal question in this case was whether the statute applied to policies that provide for an uncapped number of days off, and the Supreme Court held that it does not. See also Traxler v. Multnomah County, 2010 WL 669251 (9th Cir. 2010) (the court not the jury should determine the amount of front pay damages in an FMLA action).