On Sept. 16, Gov. Edmund Brown Jr. signed the Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act of 2014. While existing law authorizes employers to provide their employees paid sick leave, this law provides millions of Californians not currently eligible with paid sick leave.

This legislation authorizes a rate of accrual of no less than one hour for every 30 hours worked to an employee, who, on or after July 1, 2015, works in California for 30 or more days within a year from when they began employment. An employee would be entitled to use accrued sick days beginning on the 90 days after starting work here. The bill does authorize an employer to limit an employee’s use of paid sick days, but the employee must be allowed at least 24 hours or three days each year.

Under current state law, approximately 6.5 million workers in California cannot take a paid day off when they are ill or a family member is sick. Now about 40 percent of the state’s workforce would be eligible.

“Whether you’re a dishwasher in San Diego or a store clerk in Oakland, this bill frees you of having to choose between your family’s health and your job,” said Brown. “Make no mistake, California is putting its workers first.”

The bill would prohibit an employer from discriminating or retaliating against an employee who requests paid sick days.

The state labor commissioner can impose administrative fines for violations and would authorize the commissioner or the attorney general to recover specified civil penalties against an offender who violated these provisions.

“As a single working mom, I know first-hand the challenge of having to juggle a sick child who needs to see a doctor and your responsibilities at work,” said Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez.  “But no parent should have to experience the heartache of having to choose between making the rent and taking care of their child.”

With the governor’s signature, California becomes only the second state in the nation to require paid sick leave. The Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act of 2014 will go into effect July 1, 2015.