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New Report Finds That Nearly 7 Million Working Californians Lack Access to Paid Sick Days



Anastasia Ordonez

Jennifer Clark

New Report Finds That Nearly 7 Million Working Californians Lack Access to Paid Sick Days

Institute for Women’s Policy Research and California Work & Family Coalition Call on the State to Pass AB 1522 Paid Sick Days Legislation

For a copy of the IWPR Paid Sick Days Access Brief, please visit

San Francisco, CAA report released today by the Washington D.C.-based Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR) highlights how many more Californians than previously thought approximately 7 million, or 44% of all working Californians may lack access to paid sick days. Among the groups most impacted by lack of access are Hispanics, low-wage workers and those employed in the food service and preparation, forestry and farming industries. A research brief released earlier this year by Next Generation, a San Francisco-based nonprofit organization, found similar results.

According to the IWPR report, only 43 percent of the state’s Hispanic workers, compared with 64 percent of White workers, have access to paid sick days. The IWPR also reports that nearly three in four low-wage workers do not have paid sick days. Access is especially uncommon in jobs that require frequent contact with the public, such as food service workers. Approximately 81 percent of food service workers and preparers do not have paid sick days and report routinely having to report to work sick.

The California Work & Family Coalition has been working with partners across the state to raise awareness about the importance of access to paid sick days. Access to paid sick days promotes safe and healthy work environments by reducing the spread of illness, lowering health care costs and helping families succeed. Offering paid sick days to all workers in California ensures that people can take time off for their own medical needs and to address family members’ medical needs without losing necessary income. 

According to polls, 85 percent of Californians support paid sick days legislation. In San Francisco, citywide paid sick days legislation enacted in 2007 has shown continued support, including from business owners. Nearly 6 out of 7 employers in San Francisco have not experienced “negative profitability effects” from the ordinance.

Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez’s (D-San Diego) bill on paid sick days, AB 1522, is currently pending in the state legislature and up for a senate vote this week. If AB 1522 passes, California would be the second state to pass such a law and the first state to pass a law that comprehensively covers the state’s workforce.


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.

About the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR)

The Institute for Women's Policy Research (IWPR) is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization that conducts rigorous research and disseminates its findings to address the needs of women and their families, promote public dialogue, and strengthen communities and societies.

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.

For a copy of the IWPR Paid Sick Days Access Brief, please visit

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