California Governor Jerry Brown made clear this weekend that he would sign a new bill that would require all businesses in the state–including small businesses–to provide paid sick leave to employees. Calling the bill “historic,” according to Reuters, Brown signaled his intent to sign it into law after it passed the state legislature early on Saturday.
Employees would accrue the paid sick days at a rate of one hour for every 30 hours worked. Once Brown provides his signature, California would be the second state in the country to mandate paid sick leave for employees: Connecticut was the first.
Brown gushed, according to Reuters, “Tonight, the Legislature took historic action to help hardworking Californians. This bill guarantees that millions of workers–from Eureka to San Diego–won’t lose their jobs or pay just because they get sick.”
The state Senate voted for the bill 22-8; the Assembly passed it 52-25.
There is opposition to the bill from forces as disparate as business groups and democratic legislators. Business groups against the bill are concerned that they would have to cut the number of workers they employ and hike prices because of the added cost of paid sick leave. Some Democratic lawmakers felt the bill should have included home health care workers, primarily women, who are not covered in the measure. State Senator Holly Mitchell told the Sacramento Bee, “I resent the fact that we are picking between two sets of workers.”
The Institute for Women’s Policy Research asserts that roughly 44% of California workers may still not be covered by the bill. Some local governments already mandate paid sick days for their constituents, with San Francisco leading the way, starting in 2006.