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California increases minimum number of sick days

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California governor Gavin Newsom has signed a bill mandating an increase in minimum paid sick leave days for workers in the state from three to five per year.

“Too many folks are still having to choose between skipping a day’s pay and taking care of themselves or their family members when they get sick,” stated Governor Newsom. “We’re making it known that the health and wellbeing of workers and their families is of the utmost importance for California’s future.”

The governor’s website listed the advantages of increased sick days:

• Working sick costs the national economy $273 billion annually in lost productivity.

• Two days of unpaid sick time is nearly the equivalent of a month’s worth of groceries.

• Offering sick days helps save employers money through improved productivity and morale, as well as reduced presenteeism and turnover.

• Increasing access to paid sick days reduces health care costs, with evidence showing that when workers have paid sick days such costs go down and workers’ health benefits.

Rural Migration News points out: “Employees accumulate one hour of paid sick leave credit for each hour worked, and employees must allow their employees to accrue up to 80 hours or 10 days.”

The California Farm Bureau Federation opposed the measure on the grounds that “no provision is made in SB 616 to allow employer to manage misuse of paid sick leave.”

The California minimum wage, currently $15.50 an hour, will increase to $16 as of January 1, 2024.


Richard Smoley, contributing editor for Blue Book Services, Inc., has more than 40 years of experience in magazine writing and editing, and is the former managing editor of California Farmer magazine. A graduate of Harvard and Oxford universities, he has published 12 books.