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California’s families and communities need paid sick days

Anastasia Ordonez

California’s Families and Communities Need Paid Sick Days

Statement from Ann O’Leary, Vice-President of Children & Families Program at Next Generation

Today, the California legislature took a critical step to support working families and promote public health in our state by guaranteeing a minimum of three paid sick days for millions of working Californians. Governor Jerry Brown indicated his support for the bill, and we are hopeful that he will soon sign it into law.
According to research released earlier this week by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR), 44 percent of Californians do not have access to even one paid sick day. When workers don’t have access to paid sick days, they are forced to go to work sick or risk losing their income—sometimes permanently. This unfair choice puts extra pressure on already stressed low-income workers, many of whom are parents who use sick days to care for ill children or other family members. It benefits our communities if more parents can spend time with their children when their children get sick; parents shouldn’t have to risk losing their paychecks to do so.
The research also shows that workers who come to work sick cost businesses and the state millions of dollars a year, and incur a greater cost than direct medical expenses to employers. In San Francisco, where a local ordinance guarantees a minimum of five paid sick days to workers in the city, nearly six out of seven employers report no “negative profitability effects” from the ordinance. Paid sick days make sense for our state and our communities.
AB 1522, authored by Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego), establishes an important basic labor standard in California.  Workers, regardless of the size of their employer, will be guaranteed a minimum of three earned paid sick days and can use these days when they need to take time off to recover from their own illness, to care for a family member (including children, parents, spouses, domestic partners, grandparents, grandchildren and siblings), or to get legal, counseling, relocation or other help if the worker is a victim of domestic violence.
While this is an important step forward that will cover 6.5 million workers who were previously without access to any sick days, we are disappointed that approximately 300,000 to 400,000 home healthcare workers were excluded from coverage. In the future, we will fight to include these workers. California will only have a truly healthy, prosperous state when we ensure that all of our workers can meet their financial responsibilities without sacrificing their families.



About Next Generation

Next Generation promotes solutions to two of the biggest challenges confronting the next generation of Americans:  The risk of dangerous climate change, and the threat of diminished prospects for children and families. Through the use of non-partisan research, policy development, and strategic communications, we identify strategies that help deploy clean, advanced energy technologies; we also work to ensure a level playing field from which today’s kids can build a brighter future.

Learn more at and on Twitter @nextgen_USA.

About California Work & Family Coalition

The California Work & Family Coalition, a project of Next Generation, is an alliance of community organizations, unions and non-profits protecting every California worker’s right to put their family first. We work together to promote work family policies that help parents, caregivers, children and families thrive.

Learn more at and on Twitter @WorkFamilyCA.

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