Fiona Ma for State Assembly

California considers changing sick day rules

Workers in California could earn and use paid sick days for personal illness, to care for a sick family member, or to recover from domestic violence or sexual assault under a bill being considered by the state Legislature.

It is patterned after an ordinance used in the city of San Francisco.

Assemblywoman Fiona Ma, D-San Francisco, says her AB 400 is supported by a report from the Institute for Women’s Policy Research that shows both businesses and workers were generally in support of San Francisco’s paid sick days ordinance, the first such policy in the nation.

“We are not robots. We all get sick, our family members and loved ones get sick,” says Ms. Ma. “This nonpartisan study confirms that paid sick days are good for both business and workers. The evidence is growing that paid sick days is a commonsense policy that’s good for all Californians. ”

AB 400 would allow a worker to use paid sick time for up to 40 hours or five days in each calendar year for workers of small businesses with 10 or fewer employees, and 72 hours or nine days per calendar year for all other workers.

“Millions of California’s workers are forced to go to work sick because they can’t take a day off to rest and recuperate without losing a paycheck or even their job,” says Ms. Ma. “When we go to work sick or send our children to school sick, we put others at risk. AB 400 enhances public health and supports the economic security of California’s families.”

Nearly six million Californians – more than two in five workers in the state – do not get any paid sick days, she says.