Many California workers will be eligible for COVID-19 supplemental sick leave under a bill signed Wednesday by Gov. Gavin Newsom that extends the paid time off through the beginning of this fall.
“Businesses cannot thrive in a world that’s failing, and that’s why sick leave is foundational. Keeping people healthy, keeping patrons safe is so important,” the governor said at the signing ceremony for the legislation, which took place in the morning at a Bay Area restaurant.
Newsom’s signature on the new law comes after the state Legislature approved the measure earlier in the week.
Here’s what to know about Assembly Bill 84.
Who does this cover?
The new law only applies to businesses with 26 employees or more, and covers workers who are unable to work or telework for COVID-related reasons
What do workers get?
Under the bill, employers will be required to give workers as much as two weeks paid time off if they become infected with the coronavirus.
Eligible employees will receive up to 40 hours of paid time off if they are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, caring for a relative who tests positive for the virus, or are subject to quarantine or isolation orders. Employees can also get paid time off for getting the vaccine or a booster shot, and to recover from any potential side effects, but businesses can limit the total for that to 24 hours.
On top of the first week, covered employees can qualify for an additional 40 hours if they or a family member are sick with COVID-19.
Part-time employees may also be eligible to receive some supplemental leave, according to the legislation.
Employers will be on the hook to provide and pay for the coronavirus test.
When does the paid sick time kick in?
The supplemental leave not only goes into effect immediately, it also retroactively covers COVID-related illnesses beginning Jan. 1, 2022.
When does it end?
The additional sick hours expire on Sept. 30, 2022.
Past COVID leave law
The newly-approved measure is similar to California’s previous COVID-19 paid sick time law that Newsom signed in March 2021. That one also applied to businesses with at least 26 employees and required such companies provide 80 hours of supplemental leave to workers.
It expired on Sept. 30, 2021, well before the highly contagious omicron variant was detected.
The push for the state to revive the law came amid an omicron-fueled surge of the virus that drove California’s recent record-setting spike in daily cases. Newsom and state lawmakers reached a deal on a framework late last month.
However, infections are rapidly declining across California, enough so that public health officials announced that much of the state’s indoor masking requirements would be lifted next week.