A report released last Wednesday by supporters of bill AB2716, which would require all California employers to provide paid time off for workers to care for themselves or family members, showed that as many as 5.4 million working Californians don't get any paid sick days, and they tend to be both sicker and poorer than employees who do receive sick leave.
"The more you need paid sick days, the less likely you are to have them," said Dr. Rajiv Bhatia, one of the contributors to the report and the director of occupational and environmental health for San Francisco.
The bill by Assemblywoman Fiona Ma (D-San Francisco) was modeled on the paid sick leave law that took effect last year in San Francisco. The bill passed the state Assembly in May and is scheduled for a hearing this week in the Senate Appropriations Committee.
Business groups led by the California Chamber of Commerce opposed the bill, saying that it is a complicated and costly mandate that could force companies to cut wages or lay off workers. However, supporters held the opinion that the public health benefits will outweigh any costs to employers.