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    Center on Policy Initiatives

Non-compliance with earned sick days law in San Diego


COVID-19 has laid bare the absolute necessity of laws that guarantee workers paid days. Based on a survey of over 2,600 hourly workers in San Diego County conducted before the outbreak of COVID-19, we found that the vast majority of survey respondents were experiencing violations of earned sick days laws.

The information in this report is based on a survey of 2,660 hourly workers conducted during 2019. Seventy-eight percent of the respondents worked in the City of San Diego, and 22% working in the County but not the City. The food and retail sectors are heavily represented, and 73% of the workers are also students. Students lack of access to earned sick days was slightly higher than non-students at 68% vs 58%. While not a representative sample, this data shows that rates of noncompliance with earned sick days regulations in both the City and the County are unquestionably high. The quotes are taken from almost 300 open-ended comments on the survey. 

The report is a joint report between the Center on Policy Initiatives, San Diego State University, and SDSU’s Center for Community Research and Engagement.

Principal Investigator and Lead Author: Jill Esbenshade, PhD
Co-Principal Investigator and Lead Data Analyst: Audrey Beck, PhD

Research Team: Melanie Dinh, Kimberly Gan, Zara Ghannadian, Kate Hart, Joshua Hudson, Alex Lalangan, Elizabeth Leathers, and Lauren Rabago.

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Policy recommendations

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