Gov. Jerry Brown on Wednesday signed a bill requiring employers to provide at least three days of paid sick leave each year to workers. It applies to part-time workers as well as full-time.
AB 1522, by Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez, D-San Diego – called the Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act of 2014 – requires employers to provide paid sick leave to employees at the rate of one hour for every 30 hours worked, although employers may cap total sick time to 24 hours in a year. It applies to employees who work 30 or more days within a year from starting a job.
Proponents, chiefly labor unions, say the bill is necessary because roughly 40 percent of California workers do not receive paid sick leave as a benefit.
“Whether you’re a dishwasher in San Diego or a store clerk in Oakland, this bill frees you of having to choose between your family’s health and your job,” Brown said at a Los Angeles news conference where he signed the bill.
When the law goes into effect next July 1, California will become the second state to require paid sick leave; Connecticut was the first.
Most major business groups opposed the bill; the state Chamber of Commerce labeled the bill a “job-killer.” They argued the bill would place too much of a financial burden for employers in low-margin industries such as restaurants. Also, they opposed the bill’s “right-to-sue” provision, saying it would create more grounds for plaintiff attorneys to target employers.
Brown agreed to sign the bill only after insisting on an exemption for tens of thousands of home healthcare workers.
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