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Bill would mandate paid sick time

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POSTED May 29, 2014 8:16 p.m.

SACRAMENTO . (AP) — California employers would be required to offer paid sick time to all workers under legislation that passed the Assembly on Thursday despite objections from Republican lawmakers and business groups that labeled it a “job killer.”

AB1522, which is backed by labor groups, would require employers to provide one hour of paid sick time for every 30 hours worked, up to three days per year. It passed the Assembly on a 48-20 vote and now goes to the Senate.

The bill’s author, Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, D-San Diego, said it would “fundamentally change the lives of 6 million California workers” who cannot stay home when they are ill or take a sick child to the doctor.

“They have to choose in their jobs whether they go to work sick and be able to make ends meet, or lose a day’s pay,” she said.

Assemblyman Donald Wagner, R-Irvine, said California lawmakers “just keep piling on” more regulations that make it hard for California businesses to compete with those in other states that have fewer rules.

“We shouldn’t be adding yet another burden when we see Toyota picking up and leaving and going to Texas, when we see the governors of various different states coming here and recruiting our businesses,” he said, referring to Toyota’s recent announcement that it was moving its Torrance headquarters to a Dallas suburb.

Assemblyman Brian Jones, R-Santee, said if lawmakers wanted to help workers they would approve GOP-driven efforts to create flexibility for employers with changes such as four-day work weeks and relaxed overtime regulations.

But Assemblywoman Shirley Weber, D-San Diego, recounted her father’s 30-year career as a steel worker, saying he had no paid time off. She urged her colleagues to support the bill and “show some understanding and humanity” for low-wage workers.

She said her father often had to go to work sick to support his family and had to lose pay to see each of his eight children graduate from high school.

“You have the opportunity to choose where you work; not everybody has that choice,” she said.

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