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Gonzalez Will Work With Legislators in Other States to Bring Paid Sick Leave to All American Workers

LOS ANGELES – (Wednesday, September 10, 2014) – California State Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego) joined workers and other state legislators this morning at the Ronald Reagan State Building as Governor Jerry Brown officially signed her legislation to make California the first state to guarantee paid sick leave for all private-sector employees across every industry.

Under Assembly Bill 1522, which will become effective July 1, 2015, workers employed for 90 days will be eligible to use the sick leave they earn. Workers will be able to earn a minimum of one hour of sick leave for every 30 hours worked and are guaranteed to be able to use at least 3 days’ worth of paid leave to care for themselves or a family member when they fall ill.

“With Governor Brown's signing of AB1522, today we made history in a California. We become the first state in the nation to guarantee paid sick days for every single private sector worker in the state – no matter what industry they work in, no matter if they are part-time or seasonal, and regardless of the size of their employer,” Gonzalez said. “This means more than 6.5 million more workers in this State will be able to take up to 3 days off when they or their child is sick without fearing the loss of income, hours or their job.”

A recent study by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research showed as many as 7 million workers, or about 44% of the private sector workforce in California, do not currently have access to paid sick leave. Gonzalez and Brown were joined at the ceremony by several workers from the fast food, retail, janitorial and restaurant industries who will benefit from new state law.

With a new paid sick days law on Californian’s books, Assemblywoman Gonzalez plans to work closely with legislators in these states during the coming months to bring the lessons of California’s success to other working people across the country. State-level Paid Sick Days legislation is currently under consideration in Massachusetts, Colorado, Maryland, Vermont and Illinois. 

"Without a doubt, this is an historic accomplishment for California. But, it's historic with a small ‘h.’ About 40% of the private sector workers throughout our nation still can't earn an hour of paid sick time," Gonzalez said. "That's why I’m committed to helping pass similar legislation in other states. I will not be satisfied until every worker in the US, just like in the other 22 wealthiest countries in the world, has paid sick time."

Gonzalez highlighted her own experience as the head of her household and as a former worker advocate as the inspiration behind authoring AB 1522 in her first full year in the Legislature.

"As a single working Mom, I know first-hand the challenge of having to juggle a sick child who needs to see a doctor and your responsibilities at work, " Gonzalez said. "But no parent should have to experience the heartache of having to choose between making the rent and taking care of their child. I am exceptionally proud to have authored this pro-family, pro-worker and pro-public health legislation and very grateful that my Democratic colleagues in the Legislature and Gov. Brown also appreciate the need enough to make California the leader in the nation on this issue."

AB 1522 was approved by the Assembly on a 52-25 vote August 30, shortly after being approved by the Senate on a 22-8. With the Governor’s signature, the law will take effect on July 1, 2015 throughout California.

For more information on AB 1522, or to interview Assemblywoman Gonzalez, contact Evan McLaughlin at (916) 319-2080 or (619) 850-2790.

Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez represents the 80th Assembly District, which includes Chula Vista, National City and the San Diego neighborhoods of City Heights, Barrio Logan, Paradise Hills, San Ysidro and Otay Mesa and is Chair of the Assembly Select Committee on Women in the Workplace. For more information, visit