Press Statement
California Senate Creates “Pivotal Moment” for Workers by Advancing What Could Become the Nation’s Second Statewide Paid Sick Days Law

“The California Senate positioned the state to make history today by advancing a bill that would guarantee nearly seven million additional California workers the right to earn paid sick days. The bill will soon head to Governor Jerry Brown’s desk, and he will have the chance to sign the nation’s second statewide paid sick days law. This legislation will benefit more workers and families than any law of its kind to date.

This is a pivotal moment in the quest to give all workers in this country the basic right to earn paid sick days.

The governor should sign this bill right away. Eighty-five percent of Californians say they support paid sick days legislation. All the paid sick days laws* already in place are working well and creating a growing body of evidence showing that paid sick days benefit workers, their families, businesses, public health and local economies.

A strength of this legislation is that it would cover the vast majority of workers in the state regardless of the size of their employer. It would ensure that covered workers can accrue up to three paid sick days that can be used for their own illnesses, to get medical care or seek assistance related to domestic violence, or to care for ill family members. However, we urge the state’s lawmakers to recognize it as a first step. Paid sick days laws in San Francisco and elsewhere demonstrate that allowing workers to earn more paid sick days — most commonly between five and nine days — provides important assurances that they can take the time they need when illness strikes. We hope California lawmakers will soon expand this measure to guarantee more than three days and coverage for workers who provide in-home care to seniors and others in need.

California has long been a leader in establishing family friendly workplace policies. It enacted the nation’s first ever paid family leave program in 2002, and became home to the nation’s first citywide paid sick days law in San Francisco in 2007. We commend Assembly member Lorena Gonzalez (D – San Diego) and the California Work & Family Coalition for continuing that proud tradition, and for their commitment to ensuring Californians have the right to earn paid sick days. By signing this bill, Governor Brown can help pave the way for lawmakers in other states and cities — and in Congress — to follow his lead.”

* Paid sick days laws are already in place in San Francisco, Washington, D.C., Seattle, Portland, Ore., New York City, Jersey City, Newark and the state of Connecticut. Eugene, Ore., and San Diego, Calif., recently passed paid sick days legislation, and several cities in New Jersey are currently considering paid sick days proposals. Massachusetts voters will decide the future of a statewide paid sick days proposal for their state this November.

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About the National Partnership for Women & Families

The National Partnership for Women & Families is a nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy group dedicated to promoting fairness in the workplace, reproductive health and rights, access to quality, affordable health care and policies that help all people meet the dual demands of work and family.

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