Newsom signs laws to make those with coronavirus eligible for compensation benefits and require companies to warn of exposures

California
Governor signs a bill extending job-protected family leave alongside First Partner Jennifer Siebel Newsom on Sept. 17, 2020. (Governor's Press Office)

Governor signs a bill extending job-protected family leave alongside First Partner Jennifer Siebel Newsom on Sept. 17, 2020. (Governor’s Press Office)

California Gov. Gavin Newsom has signed two bills into law that are aimed at protecting workers from the coronavirus.

One of them makes people who have the coronavirus eligible for workers compensation benefits. Another requires companies to warn their employees if they have been exposed to someone who has tested positive for the virus.

Business groups opposed both laws, calling them vague and unworkable. Newsom said Thursday that the laws prioritize the state’s workforce.

He signed them during a Zoom call with supporters. The workers compensation law takes effect immediately. The notification law takes effect on Jan. 1.

“Protecting workers is critical to slowing the spread of this virus,” Newsom said in a statement. “These two laws will help California workers stay safe at work and get the support they need if they are exposed to COVID-19.”

State Sen. Jerry Hill, who introduced the workers’ compensation bill, said: “For more than 100 years, California has stood for worker safety. In signing SB 1159, Governor Newsom underscores and reinforces that commitment by ensuring vulnerable workers are not left out in the cold.”

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