A California bill to provide universal paid sick leave died in committee last week, following intensive lobbying efforts from small businesses and their lobbyists.  The bill would have granted employees of small companies in California up to five days of paid sick leave each year, while workers at larger companies could take up to nine days a year.  To read more, check out this article from the L.A. Times

The bill was scuttled primarily due to the cost of implementation and enforcement in a year in which the state faces a $15 billion deficit.  Even if it had passed, the bill faced a likely veto from Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.  The bill’s sponsor, Fiona Ma (D-San Francisco), vowed to reintroduce a similar measure next year. 

If passed, the law would have made California the first state to have a mandatory paid sick leave program.  However, the program is not entirely unprecedented:  employees is San Francisco already have a paid sick leave program.  Further, since January 1, 2004, California has offered wage replacement benefits for employees who take time off from their jobs in order to care for a family member or child with a serious health condition.  Want to learn more about the legislative process?  Watch this.