The HIA addressed California Assembly Bill 2716: Healthy Families, Healthy Workplaces Act of 2008. The bill would have entitled an employee who works in California to accrue paid sick time at a rate of no less than one hour of paid sick time for every 30 hours worked, up to nine days per year. An employee would be entitled to use accrued time for diagnosis, care, or treatment of health conditions of the employee or an employee’s family member, or for leave related to domestic violence or sexual assault. Some of the pathways and health issues explored included: 1) the spread of communicable diseases—such as influenza and stomach flu—through workers at restaurants, schools and nursing homes; and 2) impacts on income and stress levels due to loss of salary and employer retaliation for missing work. The HIA recommended the passage of the bill as a way to improve the health of all Californians and helped to reframe the policy debate to include health outcomes. For example, the chair of the California Assembly Labor Committee, referring specifically to the HIA, asked the bill’s opposition if they condoned the spread of disease through restaurant workers.
The HIA received substantial press in California and nationally; ultimately, the bill did not pass.