October 11, 2023
California’s Gov. Gavin Newsom has signed legislation that increases the paid sick leave that employers are required to give workers from three days to five per year.
Senate Bill 616 by state Sen. Lena Gonzalez, D-Long Beach, also increases the number of accrued paid sick days workers can carry into the next year. The legislation takes affect Jan. 1, 2024.
“Too many folks are still having to choose between skipping a day’s pay and taking care of themselves or their family members when they get sick,” Newsom said. “We’re making it known that the health and wellbeing of workers and their families is of the utmost importance for California’s future.”
In addressing the need for the legislation, Newsom’s office asserts:
Working sick costs the national economy $273 billion annually in lost productivity.
Two days of unpaid sick time is nearly the equivalent of a month’s worth of groceries.
Offering sick days helps save employers money through improved productivity and morale, as well as reduced turnover.
Increasing access to paid sick days reduces health care costs, with evidence showing that when workers have paid sick days such costs go down and workers’ health benefits.
However, a broad coalition of employer organizations opposed the bill, arguing that it does not address existing problems with implementation and abuse, a Senate bill analysis noted. Groups that opposed the bill included the California Farm Bureau, Western Agricultural Processors Association and Western Growers.
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