cropped view of nurse in uniform sneezing and holding napkin during night shift
(Credit: LightFieldStudios / Getty Images)

Employers in California would be required to allow workers to take five days of sick leave per year, rather than the three days currently required by law, under legislation passed Wednesday by the California State Legislature.

Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) has until Oct. 14 to sign the bill into law or veto it.

The California Association of Health Facilities is opposed to the legislation, saying that it is a bad idea for skilled nursing facilities.

“Any mandated increase in costs for SNFs need[s] to be accompanied by funding, since our profession is primarily funded by government payers. At this time, we have received no information about the extent to which funding would be added to provider reimbursement rates to reflect these new costs,” a spokesman for CAHF told the McKnight’s Business Daily. “Due to ongoing workforce challenges, providers may experience difficulty hiring staff to backfill for the additional sick leave days to ensure that they can continue to meet mandatory staffing standards and continue to provide care to their residents.”

LeadingAge California declined to comment on the potential effect of the sick leave mandate on its members. A spokeswoman said the organization is still analyzing the bill’s potential fiscal impact.

The California Assisted Living Association did not take a position on the bill when it was being considered, but a spokesperson said that “if the governor signs the bill, CALA will be working to inform our membership about the new requirements so they understand what is required under the law.”

The proposal is backed by the California Labor Federation and SEIU California.

“Supporters of the legislation say workers won’t have to choose between their health and paying the bills,” the Sacramento affiliate of ABC News reported. “Opponents argue that many small businesses have not recovered from the COVID-19 pandemic and cannot afford the increased number of sick days.”

Only 15 states require paid sick days at all, according to KFF, but the Los Angeles Times noted that some states require employers to provide more sick days than the California proposal. New York, for example, requires some businesses to provide seven days of paid leave. New Mexico, which passed a law last year, allows employees up to eight paid sick days annually.