California made a big move for workers last week. In fact it was historic. California made the largest expansion of its kind to date when it extended paid sick leave to millions of workers. Prior to this, many of these workers were left to choose between losing a day’s pay and working while ill.
Connecticut is the only other state to have a sick-leave mandate. Last Wednesday, Gov. Jerry Brown (D-Calif.) signed the California bill, under which employers must allow workers to accrue one hour of sick time for every 30 hours worked. This will be capped at three days per year at employers’ discretion. The law goes into effect July 2015, reports The Huffington Post.
“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 in a statement.
According to the governor’s office, the mandate will give paid sick leave to 6.5 million Californians who currently don’t have it. The bill passed both chambers of the statehouse by wide margins late last month, sending the legislation to Brown’s desk.
While many other countries in the developed world have federal law guaranteeing paid sick leave for workers, America does not. Nearly four out of 10 workers in the U.S. are not covered by a sick leave program, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. But there has been a move to change this. California and Connecticut now have mandated sick pay. And cities such as New York, San Diego, Portland and Washington, D.C., among others, have sick-leave ordinances. Connecticut became the first to have a state law in 2011.
Some oppose sick leave mandates. But Democrats in Congress have proposed a federal sick-leave law that would include most U.S. workers. The bill however has stalled in the GOP-controlled House.