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Advancing the rights of working families.

San Diego, California

Overview of San Diego’s Paid Sick Time Campaign

On July 28, 2014, the City Council of San Diego (the eighth largest city in the U.S.) voted to pass a paid sick time and minimum wage ordinance. Although the San Diego Mayor vetoed the ordinance, the City Council voted to override the Mayor’s veto on August 18, 2014. An estimated 279,000 workers—more than a quarter of a million people—will gain a right to paid sick time under this law, which will also raise the minimum wage over a three-year period.

Implementation of the law was delayed, however, after opponents successfully collected signatures to put the paid sick time and minimum wage ordinance to a vote in a referendum. On June 7, 2016, voters in San Diego approved the paid sick time and minimum wage ordinance with 63% of the vote. Under San Diego elections law, the law will take effect on the date the Council adopts a resolution declaring the results of the election (or earlier, if specified by the resolution).

San Diego joins San Francisco, Oakland, Emeryville, and Los Angeles in having a paid sick time law that is more generous than California’s statewide paid sick time law (which explicitly allows cities to go beyond the state requirements).

About San Diego's Paid Sick Time Law

Under San Diego’s paid sick time law, most workers in the city will be entitled to accrue and use up to 40 hours of paid sick time a year. 

Under the law, workers can use paid sick time to recover from their own illness or to care for sick family members. The law covers a broad range of family members: children; spouses; domestic partners (registered under a state or local law or with one partner’s employer); parents; parents of a spouse or domestic partner; grandchildren; grandparents; and siblings. “Child” is defined as biological, adopted, or foster child; stepchild; child of a domestic partner; legal ward; or the child of a worker standing in loco parentis to the child.

San Diego’s paid sick time law can also be used for “safe time” purposes related to domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking, when the worker or the worker’s family member is a victim.

For more detailed information on coverage exemptions, accrual of paid sick time, and how the law will work, see our California chart of paid sick time laws.

A Better Balance provided legal support to the San Diego campaign, and looks forward to the law’s implementation!

For More Information

• 1) A Better Balance’s national chart of paid sick time laws and 2) California chart of paid sick time laws

The text of San Diego’s ordinance
IWPR’s analysis of the costs and benefits of a paid sick time law in San Diego
Center on Policy Initiatives' Analysis of Earned Sick Time and Minimum Wage Policy
Website for Raise Up San Diego

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