Bipartisan voter support for paid sick days not quite enough in California

August 14, 2008 | Aaron Keating

California voters of all political stripes see a public health benefit to paid sick days, and by a 73% to 23% margin would support a law to guarantee that workers receive a minimum number of paid sick days from their employer.

From the California Center for Research on Women and Families:

Support…crosses party lines, and includes 85% of Democrats, 75% of non-partisans and 56% of Republicans. Women, lower income voters, Latinos, younger voters and households where a union member resides report higher levels of support for a paid sick days law.

Despite such strong support, SB 2716, California Assembly Member Fiona Ma’s 2008 bill guaranteeing California workers paid sick leave has died in the Senate Appropriations Committee due to budget concerns and strong opposition lobbying from the National Federation of Independent Business.

The NFIB adopted its standard “job-killer” mantra, predicting, among other things, that the proposed bill would cost California 370,000 jobs and would burden employers with 4.6 billion in new costs over a 5-year period.

Those numbers should be taken with a spoonful of salt. The same kinds of dire predictions were made about the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) in 1993, as the country was just emerging from a recession.

In fact, the reverse proved to be true. Adoption of FMLA was followed by 8 years of strong economic growth and unprecedented numbers of women joining the workforce.

Besides, couldn’t the new paid sick days measure be at least partially funded just by closing the state’s taxsloophole“?

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Posted in Paid Sick Days, Work & Family

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