Californians Might Gain Five Days of Paid Sick Leave (Senate Bill 616)

1 min read
September 11, 2023

State Senator Lena Gonzalez is championing a legislative push that could see workers in California receive a minimum of five days of paid sick leave.

Why it matters:

The move is significant, considering the current state laws. Only workers who have been employed by the same company for at least 30 days within a year and have finished a 90-day employment period are entitled to paid sick leave.

What’s inside the bill:

  • Senate Bill 616: Gonzalez proposes a revision that would grant employees 40 hours, or five days, of accumulated sick days under the state’s Labor Code.
  • Accrual mechanics: The bill offers employers flexibility in accruing sick leave. However, by the 200th day of employment, it should amount to five days.
  • Utilization: Workers can use the leave for personal or family illnesses, seeking medical care, or, following the 2023 California Family Rights Act (CFRA) amendment, to care for a “designated person.”

Driving the news:

With the pandemic-induced temporary COVID-19 sick leave ending, Gonzalez emphasized the need for a more extended provision. “Families no longer have the temporary protections… Three days is not enough,” she stated.

Yes, but:

While the bill has garnered support from labor groups and advocates, it has yet to be smooth sailing. A consortium of employers voiced their concerns, particularly highlighting the financial strains on small businesses during the pandemic. A group of employers (as usual) has pointed out the economic challenges, despite other states like Minnesota implementing a more robust paid leave with no ill effect.

Bottomline: Last month, the California Work & Family Coalition put it best, “Parents are twice as likely to send their kids to school when they are unable to take time off work. Three days are not enough. Parents require more paid sick days.”

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