CA workers should not have to make impossible choices between their paychecks and their health.
The California economy is the largest in the United States and the sixth-largest in the world. Our state's incredible economic engine depends on working people with families who depend on them as well.
But COVID-19 has exposed the failings of our state's worker protection laws. Most Californians are allowed only three sick days per year, which leaves many workers – disproportionately women, people of color and immigrants – unable to take the time they need to care for themselves and their families.
Without paid sick leave, people are less likely to see a healthcare provider when they fall ill and more likely to go to work contagious. Inadequate sick leave risks the health of our community and undermines the health of our economy.
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California must ensure that all our frontline workers can take the leave they need without jeopardizing their livelihood. More than 65 percent of families with incomes below $35,000 have no access to paid sick leave, and less than 1 percent of workers earning less than $20,000 utilize paid family leave programs. Many are afraid that taking leave will cost them their jobs – 40 percent of California workers are ineligible for job-protected family leave simply because they work for an employer with fewer than 50 employees.
Together, the governor's paid family leave budget proposal and AB 3216 (Kalra) will permit all Californian workers to take job-protected leave, regardless of the size of their employer. This will allow our frontline workers to care for themselves, a new baby, sick family members, or family members who are home because of a school closure. AB 3216 will also provide 7 additional days (for a total of 10 days) of paid sick leave to all California workers during a state of public health emergency, and it will provide people in industries impacted heavily by COVID-19 the right to return to work.
Californians should not have to make a choice between their paychecks and caring for themselves and their families. AB 3216 provides strong job protections for workers who need to take leave – strengthening health outcomes and easing economic stress for individuals and their families and communities. California needs to take action to ensure a healthy workforce and to foster a strong economic recovery for all.
Tell your legislators to vote YES on AB 3216 and the paid family leave budget proposal. <[link removed]>
Thanks for sticking with us,
Executive Director, ACLU of Northern California