SACRAMENTO–Governor Gavin Newsom Thursday signed an executive order to support California workers from large employers in the food sector industry impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic with two weeks of paid sick leave, filling a gap left by federal relief that had provided similar paid leave benefits for employers with fewer than 500 workers.
Workers in the food sector, including farmworkers, agricultural workers, and those working in grocery stores and fast food chains, and as delivery drivers, are part of the state’s essential infrastructure workforce, and have continued to work to serve Californians.
“These workers on the front lines of this crisis are our unsung heroes for continuing to work to ensure that Californians have food on their tables during these challenging times, and we must do everything in our power to make sure they are taken care of at home and in the workplace. Making sure they have paid sick leave and added protections in their place of work is critical,” said Governor Newsom.
Additionally, the executive order provides health and safety standards to increase worker and customer protection by permitting workers at food facilities to wash their hands every 30 minutes, or as needed, to increase proper sanitation measures.
The administration has taken several actions to ensure food worker protections, including recently issued guidance by Cal/OSHA for the grocery industry on best practices on physical distancing, disinfecting, and the use of reusable bags. Also, the Governor released $100 million to support child care for essential infrastructure workers, including grocery workers, and vulnerable populations last week.