During the pandemic, we all worried about what would happen if we got seriously sick and had to be out of work for months. What if we used all our sick leave? How would we pay bills? Senate Bill 205 by Senator Connie Leyva proposes to offer five months of full salary paid sick leave to classified school and community college employees – and not just for COVID but for any illness or accident.

Under existing law,  a certificated or classified school or community college employee who exhausts all available sick leave and continues to be absent from work due to illness or accident for an additional 5 months,  is paid either:  (1) the difference between the employee’s salary and the amount that is actually paid, or would have been paid, to a substitute employee who fills-in during the employee’s absence, or (2) at least 50% of the employee’s regular salary during the period of the absence.

Senate Bill 205 would instead pay an employee their full salary for an additional 5 months after they exhaust all their sick leave.

Our health comes first, and classified school employees should not have to worry about how they will be providing for their families while taking time off to receive care. Employees should NOT have to take money from their paycheck to pay for their replacements when they are on leave.

That’s why SEIU Local 99 members have been speaking in visits with state legislators. This bill is not yet law, let’s continue to contact our state legislators and urge them to pass Senate Bill 205. Find your legislator here.

It is time for classified school employees to no longer feel as if they are being punished for being sick.