President’s plan for paid sick days would strengthen California’s landmark paid sick leave law authored by Assemblywoman Gonzalez
SACRAMENTO – (Friday, Jan. 16, 2015) – California Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego), author of the state’s landmark paid sick days law in 2014, applauded President Obama today for his proposal this week to pass legislation allowing workers to earn up to seven paid sick days and create a $2 billion incentive program to help cover costs.
The announcement comes ahead of the July 1 implementation of Assembly Bill 1522, a new state law authored by Gonzalez and signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown. The law makes California the first state in the nation to guarantee paid sick days for every private sector worker, impacting about 6.5 million working Californians.
"As a working Mom, being able to take a day off to care for my children when they’re sick is one of the most important benefits I’ve ever had at work. Paid sick leave is a commonsense, pro-family policy whose time should’ve come long ago, which is why I was so proud to author the California law that extended that benefit to 6.5 million additional families last year,” Gonzalez said. “From there, many of us campaigned last year for Massachusetts' successful ballot measure to grant paid sick leave to another 1 million people and we stand ready to move forward with this effort nationally until every one of the 40 million Americans who don’t have a single hour of paid sick time is protected. I'm ready to help the President accomplish just that in any way possible."
The National Partnership for Women & Families reported that more than $160 billion annually is lost in our national economy because of “presenteeism” – when sick workers show up to work because of lost productivity, and the Institute for Women’s Policy Research found that 1.3 million emergency room visits could be avoided nationally, saving Americans $1.1 billion in healthcare costs annually if patients had access to paid sick leave, giving them time to visit a primary care provider like a family physician when they were sick. Further, nearly one quarter of adults in the United States (23 percent) report that they have lost a job or have been threatened with job loss for taking time off due to illness or to care for a sick child or relative.
In the recently released “Shriver Report” about women and poverty, paid sick days was listed as the most important reform that could be made to improve the lives of working women, and losing just three days of pay because of illness can equate to a whole month’s grocery bill for a low-income family. 96% percent of single mothers said paid leave was the most important policy that their employer could adopt to improve their lives.
"With so many families living on the brink of financial survival, we cannot continue to force millions of hard working Americans to choose between paying their bills and seeking medical care when they're sick. We must be better as a country, and President Obama is keeping us on track to get there.”
According to an analysis by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, more than 6.5 million California workers – most of whom work in the private sector – will be covered by California’s new paid sick days law when AB 1522 goes into effect July 1, 2015. Similar sick day laws were passed as ballot measure by overwhelming margins in the November 2014 election by voters in Massachusetts, Oakland, CA, Trenton, NJ, and Montclair, NJ.
For more information on Paid Sick Days legislation 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. For more information, visit http://asmdc.org/members/a80/.