Local lawmaker introduces bill to expand paid sick leave

Politics

Assembly member Lorena Gonzalez (L) at the California State Capitol on June 22, 2016 in Sacramento, California. (Photo by Kelly Sullivan/Getty Images for Girl Scouts)

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SAN DIEGO — Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, D-San Diego, announced Friday that she has introduced a bill to guarantee at least five paid sick days each year for the state’s private sector workers.

The bill will expand on Gonzalez’s 2014 law that required private sector companies to provide at least three days of paid sick leave per year to employees. According to Gonzalez, nearly 6.9 million state residents gained access to sick leave thanks to the law. Multiple cities around the state, including San Diego, Los Angeles and Santa Monica, have since passed laws to further expand paid sick leave benefits.

“We knew when we passed the paid sick leave law that three days wouldn’t be enough but was a great start,” Gonzalez said. “California was a national leader in establishing earned sick leave for every employee in the state. Now, we need to catch up to other cities and states that have recognized the need for, and have passed, more expansive laws for workers.”

The new bill would mandate that employers offer at least five days of sick leave to employees by their 200th day on the job. The bill would accommodate recovery times for the flu, according to Gonzalez’s office, which average about five days.

A 2010 study by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research found that roughly eight million workers around the country went to work while fighting the flu during the 2009 flu season. As a result, an additional seven million people contracted the flu virus.

Gonzalez proposed a functionally similar bill during the 2017-2018 legislative session, which subsequently died in committee. Her office did not disclose when they expect the new bill, AB 555, to have its first committee hearing.

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