SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – A controversial proposal to provide all workers in California with at least three paid sick days has passed its first legislative test in Sacramento.
The bill by San Diego Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez to allow employees to accrue an hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked was approved by the Assembly Labor Committee by a 5 – 1 vote on Thursday.
Business groups have lined up against the proposal, despite a provision that allows employers to cap a worker’s sick time at three days per year.
Gonzalez said her bill, AB 1522, would actually help businesses by discouraging workers from coming to work when they are sick, diminishing a company’s productivity.
“The cost of presentee-ism, people who go to work but aren’t as functional as they should because they’re sick, is huge for a business,” she said.
Parents in particular would benefit from the bill, Gonzalez said, citing polling that found concern among more than 90 percent of single moms about being able to take time off to care for a sick child.
“It’s the number one issue for working single mothers.”
Workers would not be able to take advantage of the sick time they have accrued under her proposal unless they have been employed by a company for at least ninety days, and have been working in California for at least seven days prior to calling in sick.
Critics say the new mandate could eliminate jobs and have unintended consequences for businesses that already offer some form of paid time off.
The bill has been scheduled to go before the Judiciary Committee later in March.