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San José Council votes for paid sick leave

April 2, 2020

Last night, the San José City Council voted unanimously to develop the most expansive emergency paid sick leave policy in the nation.

The policy will fill the three biggest gaps in recently passed federal law, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, by covering workers at large corporations, small businesses, and misclassified gig workers.

No one should have to choose between feeding their families and going to work sick. This paid sick leave policy is a critical step to protect our public health and flatten the curve of COVID-19.

Next Tuesday, the Council will vote on putting the policy into effect as an urgency ordinance, combining recommendations by Councilmembers Maya Esparza, Magdalena Carrasco, and Sylvia Arenas and Mayor Sam Liccardo.

The San José policy will cover the three big loopholes in the recently passed federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act — businesses with larger than 500 workers, employers with less than 50 employees, and misclassified gig workers.

All of these workers would have access to 14 days of income replacement for paid sick days. The ordinance would provide this protection to workers through December 2020, in line with the federal law.

Thank you to Councilmembers Esparza, Carrasco, and Arenas, and Mayor Liccardo for your leadership on this issue; to the dozens of small business, healthcare, labor, social service and community organizations who came together to push for this policy; and to the over 1,500 of you who have signed petitions, made calls, sent emails, and spoke during the Zoom meeting this afternoon.

We’re not done yet. We’ll need you to stay involved as the policy comes back to Council next week, and in the months to come as we fight to make this policy permanent.

This crisis highlights that we still desperately need a permanent paid sick leave policy in San Jose. Because the ordinance only applies during this emergency, San José remains the only one of the four largest cities in California without a permanent paid sick leave policy. We need a long-term policy to protect our workers, communities, and families both during the current outbreak and for the years to come.