Sacramento, CA–Building on the state’s action to expand paid sick days protections for California’s workforce during the pandemic, Governor Gavin Newsom signed SB 95, legislation to ensure access to up to 80 hours of COVID-19 supplemental paid sick leave for eligible employees, including those advised to quarantine or isolate and those caring for COVID-impacted family members.
“Paid sick leave gives workers the time they need to care for themselves and loved ones while keeping their coworkers, families and communities safe,” said Governor Newsom. “Even as case rates and hospitalizations decline and vaccinations ramp up, we can’t let our guard down and must do all we can to stop this virus from spreading. I thank the Legislature for its continued leadership and commitment to supporting California workers affected by this pandemic.”
SB 95 extends protections through September 30, 2021 and is retroactive to sick leave taken beginning January 1, 2021. Small businesses employing 25 or fewer workers are exempt from the legislation, but may offer supplemental paid sick leave and, if eligible, receive a federal tax credit.
“Protecting the frontline workers that have sustained us all during this unprecedented crisis has been a top priority of our emergency response from the very beginning of the pandemic,” said Senator María Elena Durazo (D-Los Angeles). “By expanding supplemental paid leave, SB 95 will build on this progress by allowing employees across the state to put their health first without fearing that it might jeopardize their job. This emergency legislation will save lives, help small businesses, and ultimately keep our families and communities safer.”
“Paid sick leave is critical not only for the well-being of our dedicated workforce, but for the safety of their families, customers and communities,” said Assemblymember Wendy Carrillo (D-Los Angeles). “Under AB84/SB95, workers can rest assured they will be able to take time off if they or a loved one gets sick, need to quarantine or attend an appointment to be vaccinated. California’s essential workers who have not had the privilege to stay home during the pandemic are deserving of protections that ultimately save lives.”
California took early action to expand paid sick days to employees in the food sector, and later enacted paid sick days protections for every employee exposed to or positive for COVID-19. From the beginning of the pandemic, the state has taken action to protect and support California’s workforce, including expanding access to job-protected Paid Family Leave and workers’ compensation; more resources for critical child support services for essential employees and vulnerable populations; additional weekly unemployment benefits; and support for employees to isolate and quarantine outside their home.
The state has also built a pipeline of personal protective equipment to help workers stay safe on the job and expanded testing and health plan reimbursement for the essential workforce.