LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Southland lawmakers and local workers Wednesday joined Gov. Jerry Brown for the signing of legislation that provides sick days to millions of Californians who do not currently earn the benefit.

Assembly Bill 1522, known as The Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act of 2014, requires employers to provide paid sick leave to any employee who works in California for 30 or more days within a year from the commencement of employment starting on or after July 1, 2015.

KNX 1070’s Margaret Carrero reports an estimated 40 percent of the state’s workforce will be affected by the bill, which was introduced by Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego) in March.

Under current state law, approximately 6.5 million workers in California cannot take a paid day off when they are ill or a family member is sick.

With Brown’s signature, California will become only the second state in the nation after Connecticut to require paid sick leave.

“Whether you’re a dishwasher in San Diego or a store clerk in Oakland, this bill frees you of having to choose between your family’s health and your job,” said Brown. “Make no mistake, California is putting its workers first.”

Manuel, who has been working in the restaurant industry for 10 years, said the legislation benefits the public at large, not just workers.

“We handle food. If we get sick, it’s not only us getting sick, it’s you getting sick, it’s the food getting sick,” he said. “So, this is benefiting all of us.”

Despite the objections of union leaders, the bill was amended to provide exemptions for health-care aides who work with disabled or elderly residents through the state’s In-Home Supportive Services program.

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