California’s Groundbreaking Paid Sick Leave Law Effective Today

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Bonta proud to coauthor AB 1522, providing unprecedented sick leave for Californians

(Sacramento, CA) – Assemblymember Rob Bonta (D-Oakland), Chair of the Assembly Health Committee, issued the following statement applauding California’s groundbreaking paid sick leave law AB 1522, the Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act of 2014.

With the enactment of the Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act of 2014, California became the second state in the nation to guarantee private sector workers access to at least three paid sick days, with one hour accrued for thirty hours worked. Last November, Massachusetts became the third state to require sick leave.

“Starting today, 6.5 million working Californians will begin to accrue paid sick leave to care for themselves and their families.  The United States is the only developed country which still does not guarantee its workers paid time off when ill. This is an issue of social and economic justice—for it is more often low wage, part-time workers who are denied these benefits that all Californians deserve. Before this law, many working parents across the state were one sick child away from being fired. That changes today.”

As the Chair of the Assembly Health Committee, Bonta praised the important health implications of the new law. “Workers in the service and hospitality industries are the least likely to receive paid sick leave, yet they most frequently interact with the public at large. This new law will allow sick workers the appropriate time to recover and get well, without the fear of losing their job, reducing the spread of infection and protecting public health.”

Only California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and the District of Columbia require employers to provide paid sick leave, leaving 43 million workers without this safety net program. According to a March 2014 survey from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, only 40% of workers in the service industry, 24% of part-time workers, and 20% of workers in the bottom wage decile had access to paid sick leave.

Bonta concluded, “As a husband and a father of three, it is distressing to know that many of my fellow California parents have had to choose between caring for an ill child and putting food on the table. With the Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act of 2014 we have righted this injustice for millions of Californians. I am proud to have co-authored this measure and applaud the author, Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, for her leadership on this issue.”

Workers and employers can learn more about California’s new law at