Lorena Gonzalez: All California Workers Deserve Five Paid Sick Days

Friday, March 15, 2019

Assembly Bill 555 Allows Workers to Accrue and Use No Less Than Five Days of Sick Leave by Their 200th Calendar Day of Employment

SACRAMENTO -- (Friday, March 15, 2019) -- The architect of California’s landmark paid sick leave law, State Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego) has introduced legislation to build on that law and guarantee all workers at least five paid sick days a year.

“We knew when we passed the paid sick leave law that three days wouldn’t be enough but was a great start,” Assemblywoman 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.”

When Gonzalez authored Assembly Bill 1522 in 2014, California became the first state in the nation to pass an earned sick leave law for all workers. Nearly 6.9 million workers in the state directly benefited from that law, which other states and cities around the nation have followed.

On average, the recovery time from the flu is at least five days. Assembly Bill 555 would ensure that state law follows science by allowing workers to accrue and use no less than 40 hours, or five days, of sick leave by their 200th calendar day of employment.

Workers shouldn’t be forced to return to the job when they run the risk of infecting their coworkers. During the severe 2009 flu season, about 8 million American workers went to work while infected with the influenza virus and caused an additional 7 million people to get sick in the process, according to the Institute for Women's Policy Research.

Since the 2014 state law passed, cities across California, such as Oakland, Emeryville, Santa Monica, San Diego, Los Angeles, and Berkeley, have passed similar or more expansive ordinances granting workers paid sick leave. Maryland and Washington also allow workers to accrue five paid sick days – joining Arizona, Massachusetts, Oregon, and Connecticut.  

For questions on AB 555 or to schedule an interview with Assemblywoman Gonzalez, contact Sami Gallegos (209) 658-7617.