California expands minimum paid sick leave to five days

(FOX40.COM) — California workers will legally be entitled to accrue up to five days, up from three, of paid sick leave starting next year.

Senate Bill 616, introduced by Senator Lena Gonzales (D-Long Beach), was signed into law Wednesday by Gov. Gavin Newsom.

“This reinforces our state’s values and commitment to protecting the health and well-being of our workers,” Gonzales said. “As workers and families face illnesses that can disrupt their wages and livelihoods, California has delivered and stepped up to protect and expand paid sick leave, providing a critical safety net to all working Californians.”

SB 616 also increases the number of paid sick days an employee can roll over to the next year from three to five days.

California law allows employees to take sick leave to care for themselves or for family members.

In 2006, San Francisco became the first city in the United States to require employers to offer sick leave to workers. Proposition F, which passed with over 60% of the vote in its favor, required that workers accrue one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked but allowed employers to cap the number of hours accrued at 72 hours (9 days) a year.

In 2014, California became the second state, after Connecticut, to legally guarantee sick leave statewide when then-Governor Jerry Brown signed Assembly Bill 1522 into law, which guaranteed three sick leave days a year.

There is no federal law guaranteeing paid sick leave but at least 18 states have laws requiring the accrual of some paid sick leave.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that about 25% of private industry workers do not have access to paid sick leave.

“Too many folks are still having to choose between skipping a day’s pay and taking care of themselves or their family members when they get sick,” said Newsom. “We’re making it known that the health and wellbeing of workers and their families is of the utmost importance for California’s future.”

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