Paid sick leave law takes effect, Valley businesses reluctantly comply

Great American Car Wash calls law unfair, says prices will have to be raised as a result

Thursday, July 2, 2015
Paid sick leave law takes effect, Valley businesses reluctantly comply
Millions of Californians now have access to paid sick leave, but not all Valley businesses happy about it.

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Working Californians not entitled to paid sick leave before are now eligible for it under state law.

The right to accrue and take sick leave starts today, and while that's good news for working Californians, the Fresno Chamber of Commerce says local businesses are reluctantly beginning to implement it.

Great American Car Wash Is one of just many car wash shops on Blackstone Avenue. The market is saturated, and their profit margins, small, says owner AJ Rassamni.

"We wash cars for $5," he said. "I mean how much money can we make?"

But prices will have to be raised, he says, now that California's new sick leave law is officially here. He's now required to pay his each of his 15 employees three sick days a year-or 24 hours.

"The way it's going is with all the expenses we have, they're forcing small businesses to close, and when small businesses close, we're going to have high unemployment, and we're going to have more people without work than people with work because businesses cannot afford to keep on paying, keep on paying..." Rassamni said.

"It's another cost of doing business," said Rachel Eslick with Fresno Chamber of Commerce. "This is another thing that employers are having to comply with on top of minimum wage being $9 an hour now going up to $10 an hour next year," she said.

The law states that in order to be eligible for paid sick leave, an employee must work for their employer for 30 days in a year and complete a three month probationary period before the sick days can be used. Part time and temporary employees are included, and sick days can be used for family members.

The specifics of the law are confusing, says Eslick. So she says the chamber is answering questions businesses have.

But they're also learning that not all businesses oppose the law. Some already offer personal days. Others close on holidays, like one local restaurant owner Eslick recently spoke with.

"And he said, "You know what? We're closed on holidays, we're closed on Christmas, and Thanksgiving, and New Year's Day because I want my employees to enjoy their families and enjoy their lives and not feel like I never get to have a holiday because I'm at work.' So there are people doing that too," Eslick said.

The law is here, she says, and it's important businesses comply. At Great American Car Wash, the paid sick leave sign is posted, and employees are signing the paperwork that details the law. The law is here, and while he doesn't like it, Rassamni says they will abide by it.

For all the frequently asked questions on the law, click here.

The Fresno Chamber of Commerce also provided Action News with information from CalChamber