February 15, 2023

Sacramento, Calif. – Today, February 15, 2023, Senator Lena A. Gonzalez (D-Long Beach) was joined by the California Labor Federation in announcing Senate Bill 616 which would expand California’s landmark paid sick leave law to ensure all working Californians in the public and private sector can use seven days of paid sick leave each year.

In 2014, California became the first state in the nation to pass an earned sick leave law for all workers. Over 6.5 million working Californians gained access to sick leave for the first time and have been able to earn a minimum of three days of sick leave a year. However, over the last decade, California has fallen drastically behind the policies adopted in every other city and state that has since enacted more generous paid sick leave for workers including Washington, Arizona, Oregon, New York, New Jersey, Colorado, Michigan, Massachusetts, Maryland, Vermont, Maine, and Connecticut, and cities across California including Los Angeles, San Diego, Santa Monica, San Francisco, Oakland, Berkeley, West Hollywood and Emeryville.

“All workers in our state deserve to take the time off they need to recover and take care of themselves and their families when they get sick,” said Senator Lena Gonzalez (D-Long Beach). “During the pandemic we saw the immensely positive outcomes of having COVID-related sick leave, preventing more outbreaks in workplaces, averting prolonged illness amongst employees and maintaining workplace productivity. Life happens and people get sick, ensuring the health and safety of workers should be just as important now as it was when we were at the height of the pandemic. Three days of sick leave is just not enough, and that is why this year I am proud to partner with the California Labor Federation to extend this critical safety-net for all working Californians.”

The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the lifesaving impacts of paid sick leave policies, while clearly exposing the gaps in our existing safety-net for working Californians. Over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, California and the federal government took emergency measures to ensure that most workers for mid-to-large sized employers had temporary access to 10 days of supplemental paid sick leave. Research has shown emergency paid leave prevented approximately 400 positive COVID-19 cases per day in each state where workers temporarily gained access to paid sick leave under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, including California. During the ongoing public health crisis, emergency paid sick leave was one of the most effective tools in curbing the spread of COVID-19 and helped keep transmission rates down.

Temporary expansions of paid sick leave policies are not enough to provide a reliable safety-net for workers and adequately protect public health year-round. Workers without sufficient sick leave are either expected to work while sick, risking the health and safety of co-workers and customers, or stay home and forgo wages, jeopardizing that worker’s own ability to survive or keep their job. This especially disadvantages those in service sector jobs traditionally dominated by women and Latino workers, including childcare providers, and janitorial, retail, food service and hospitality workers.

SB 616 offers meaningful progress towards improving health and quality of life for millions of working Californians.

To arrange for an interview with Senator Lena Gonzalez, contact Leoda Valenzuela at (562) 338-3653.



Senator Gonzalez represents the 33rd Senate District, which includes the City of Long Beach and portions of South Los Angeles and Southeast Los Angeles including the cities of Bell, Bell Gardens, Cudahy, Huntington Park, Lakewood, Lynwood, Maywood, Paramount, Signal Hill, and South Gate. Senator Gonzalez lives in Long Beach with her family. Website of Senator Lena Gonzalez:

The California Labor Federation, AFL-CIO represents over 1,200 affiliated unions in California with over 2.1 million union members in trucking, retail, hospitality, janitorial, construction, health care, local and state government, education, arts and entertainment, warehousing and logistics, manufacturing, and a variety of other sectors.