Starting July 1, 2015, the Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act of 2014 will ensure that all Californians employed for 30 days or more will receive paid sick days.
Six and a half million workers in California are currently not allotted paid sick days. The bill entitles employees to one paid sick hour for every 30 hours worked from the commencement of their employment.
This legislation aims to increase familial wellness, prevent the spread of illness in the workplace, lower healthcare costs, decrease employee turnover and help support a thriving middle class.
“Employers benefit, workers benefit and ultimately, the California economy benefits,” said Sen. Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens).
The bill was signed into effect on Sept. 10 of this year, making California only the second state in the United States to require that employers provide paid sick leave, the first state being Connecticut in 2011.
As reported by the Huffington Post, such ordinances are now coming to cities including New York, San Diego, Portland and Washington D.C.
Paid sick leave benefits all California workers, however, the passing of this bill is a major motion in support of working women. According to the 2013 U.S. Census, there were 12 million single-parent families in the United States and 80 percent were headed by women.
Under the new bill, single mothers, or any primary caregiver, can take paid sick leave to care for a sick child or elderly parent.
“To jumpstart the middle class, we must unleash the full potential of America’s working women. When women have fairness and balance between work and family, we know there are no limits to what they can achieve — and when women succeed, America succeeds,” said Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D- San Francisco), in a press release.
Cara Peters, a fourth-year human development major and member of the Women’s Health Initiative Club at UC Davis, said that this bill not only supports single working women but also women in the workplace whose partners do not have the option to stay home with sick children while they go to work.
“This could bring a lot more equality into households, making it so that either parent has an equal opportunity to act as the caregiver for the child or elder,” Peters said.
Peters emphasized that this bill will allow working women the freedom to make both their professional and family priorities in their lives, rather than having to choose between the two.
“No woman should feel pressure to leave her job because of the societal expectation that she must be home to be the primary caregiver. The signing of this bill may relieve much of this pressure, as women can feel empowered to be both a caregiver and a provider for her family,” Peters said.
According to Rep. Pelosi’s statement on the passing of this legislation, she hopes that the signing of this bill inspires Congress to make similar motions on a national level.