Big Picture: California’s workers are set to receive five paid sick days annually starting in 2024, a move propelled by the signing of Senate Bill 616 (SB-616) by Gov. Gavin Newsom.
Why it matters: The decision elevates the previous mandate of three paid sick days. With the new bill in place, not only do workers get more paid sick days, but there’s also an enhancement in how many sick hours they can accumulate.
- Past legislation permitted a cap of 48 accrued sick hours. That’s now boosted to 80 hours with SB-616.
- Most workers can accrue one hour of sick time for every 30 hours they work. But there’s flexibility for employers to adopt varying accrual methods, provided workers obtain at least 24 hours of sick leave within their first 120 days of employment and 40 hours by day 200.
Statewide impact: While many metropolitan zones in California had already approved greater sick hours for workers, SB 616 ensures a standardized approach across the state, particularly benefiting regions without specific sick day laws. However, this law does not cover employees with collective bargaining agreements outlining their sick days.
On the union front, Labor unions across California are celebrating the bill’s passage. David Huerta, leading SEIU California and SEIU United Service Workers West, reinforced the sentiment that the decision assists in curtailing the spread of infectious diseases, lauding the enhanced paid sick days as a positive stride for workers.
The bottom line: The broader provision of paid sick days is anticipated to encourage more employees to prioritize their health, potentially resulting in a healthier and more productive work environment across California.