California Takes Historic Step for Working Families as Governor Brown Signs Nation’s Second Statewide Paid Sick Days Law

Statement of Debra L. Ness, President, National Partnership for Women & Families

“Governor Jerry Brown bolstered California’s leadership in enacting family friendly workplace policies today by signing into law a measure that will allow 6.5 million more Californians to earn up to three paid sick days a year. When the law takes effect next year, the nation will have two statewide paid sick days laws. This is significant progress in the effort to ensure that all workers in the United States can earn paid sick days.

This is a pivotal moment for the country and a historic first step for California. This law will benefit more workers and families than any paid sick days law to date because of the state’s size, and it continues the great momentum we have seen around this common sense policy. But it also unnecessarily excludes the home care workforce, and that does a real disservice to hardworking people who provide essential care to children, parents, grandparents and others in need. Home care workers are overwhelmingly female and paid low wages, and they deserve the same protections as other workers. California state lawmakers must undo this injustice.

So, too, should they make expansion of this new law a priority so that workers can earn more than three paid sick days. We know from existing laws,* including the nation’s first citywide paid sick days law in San Francisco, that allowing people to earn up to nine days works well and provides important assurances to workers that they will have the time they need when they or their family members get sick or need medical care.

Despite the needed improvements, this law is a major advance for the country and the movement to ensure all workers can earn the paid sick days they need and deserve. We commend the California Work & Family Coalition for its efforts to win family friendly workplace policies for Californians, and California lawmakers and Governor Brown for securing this victory. We look forward to other states and cities — and Congress — following their 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 Connecticut. Eugene, Ore., San Diego, Calif., and East Orange, Passaic and Paterson, N.J., recently passed paid sick days legislation. Several other cities in New Jersey are also currently considering paid sick days proposals. Massachusetts voters will decide the future of a statewide paid sick days proposal for their state this November.

About the National Partnership

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. More information is available at NationalPartnership.org.

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