Health bill covers California sick leave

Stethoscope lying on money

TEXT OF STORY

Scott Jagow: California's always trying to shake things up.
And I don't mean with earthquakes. The state's latest cause: sick leave for workers. Right now, 40 percent of California employees have no sick time. But a new bill would give everybody some days. Ashley Milne-Tyte has more.


Ashley Milne-Tyte: The health groups say that mandating paid sick leave would mean better health for all Californians.

Jonathan Heller runs Human Impact Partners. He says employees without paid sick leave include many restaurant workers and nursing home staff. People with ample opportunity to infect others.

Jonathan Heller: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the CDC, documented that a restaurant worker in Michigan who did not have paid sick days infected 500 people with stomach flu in 2006 when he went to work sick.

Heller says the U.S. could lower health care costs if it focused more on preventing illnesses from getting worse. And sick leave is a key part of that.

Marti Fisher is with the California Chamber of Commerce. She says it's not always easy for employers to do the right thing.

Marti Fisher: There's only a certain amount of money in the business, and employers have to make difficult choices. And this isn't always an option.

She says if the bill became law employers might have to cut back on workers' hours or pay.

I'm Ashley Milne-Tyte for Marketplace.

About the author

Ashley Milne-Tyte is the host of a podcast about women in the workplace called The Broad Experience.

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