When the bill reaches Governor Jerry Brown’s desk, he will have the chance to sign the nation’s second statewide paid sick days law.
All the country’s paid sick days laws are working well and have created a strong body of evidence showing that paid sick days benefit workers, their families, businesses, public health and local economies. Existing paid sick days laws – in Connecticut, San Francisco, the District of Columbia, Seattle, Portland (Ore.), New York City, Jersey City, Newark – demonstrate that allowing workers to earn as many as nine days works well. In those jurisdictions, workers no longer have to report to work with stomach flu or strep, or risk their paychecks and jobs by staying home to recover or care for a sick child or parent.
The strength of California’s bill is that it would provide near-universal access by providing those protections to the vast majority of workers in the state. It will let them 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.
But this bill must be only a first step. It unnecessarily excludes workers who provide in-home supportive services to elderly, ill people; the home-care workforce, which is overwhelmingly female and paid low wages, deserves the same basic protections as other workers. We will work hand-in-hand with our allies in California, to convince the state’s lawmakers to reverse this grievous exclusion and to give the state’s workers the right to earn more than three paid sick days.
California has long been a leader in establishing family friendly workplace policies. It enacted the nation’s first 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 the California Work & Family Coalition for its work to date, and its ongoing commitment to ensuring Californians have the right to earn paid sick days.
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.