State Watch

Newsom, California lawmakers reach deal on COVID-19 sick pay

Noah Berger/ AP
California Gov. Gavin Newsom discusses his budget proposal on Thursday, Jan. 13, 2022, in Santa Clara, Calif. Newsom announced Tuesday, Jan. 18 that 45 colleges and universities in California, including some of the most prestigious campuses in the state, will be part of a new public service program that will subsidize tuition for students who…

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) has reached a deal with the state legislature to require employers to provide workers with up to two weeks of paid COVID-19 sick leave. 

The new legislation, announced on Wednesday, will apply to all businesses with 26 or more employers. 

According to The Los Angeles Times, the state legislature passed a similar law last year that provided 80 hours of supplemental paid sick leave for workers. It expired on Sept. 30. 

The previous plan did not require a positive COVID-19 test to use all of the benefits and when it expired, state workers were left with a state minimum of three paid sick days.

Employers will be required to provide up to 40 hours of flexible paid leave to full-time workers who are sick or caring for a family member and require proof of a positive test to qualify for an additional 40 hours of time off. 

Part-time employees are eligible for sick leave equal to the number of hours they work in a week or twice that amount with a positive COVID-19 test, the Times reported. 

“By extending sick leave to frontline workers with COVID and providing support for California businesses, we can help protect the health of our workforce, while also ensuring that businesses and our economy are able to thrive,” Newsom, state Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon (D) and state Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins (D) said in a statement. 

“We will continue to work to address additional needs of small businesses through the budget — they are the backbone of our communities and continue to be impacted by COVID-19.”

The legislation also includes significant funding to bolster testing capacity, accelerate vaccination and booster efforts, support front-line workers, strengthen the health care system and battle misinformation. 

The U.S. is currently dealing with a winter surge of COVID-19 infections as the omicron variant has taken hold across the nation.

The state’s extended supplement paid sick leave will go into effect until Sept. 30, 2022.

Tags California COVID-19 relief Gavin Newsom omicron

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