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Push To Extend California COVID Sick Leave

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Sonora, CA — A new proposal would give additional paid time off to California workers and billions in tax cuts to businesses.

Gov. Gavin Newsom today endorsed the legislation that would give workers infected with coronavirus up to two weeks of paid sick leave and businesses up to $6 billion in tax cuts along with other assistance amid the recent Omicron surge. A similar law from last year expired in September when the virus spread slowed significantly. A federal tax credit last year helped to offset some of the costs for businesses, but it is no longer available.

“California’s ability to take early budget action will protect workers and provide real relief to businesses reeling from this latest surge…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,” stated Newsom.

This latest extension agreement between the governor and top state legislative leaders would end some tax increases on businesses imposed in 2020 when there were fears of a major budget deficit. Instead, state revenues have soared during the pandemic allowing those taxes to end earlier. Also, more money would be spent on a state grant program for businesses and there would be no state taxes charged on some federal grants, all adding up to about $6 billion for businesses.

The extension would work this way, workers would get one week of paid time off and a second week off if they or their family members test positive for the virus. Companies would have to provide the coronavirus test and pay for it. Workers who either refuse to be tested or won’t share the results with their employers would not get the extra week off.

Several unions are praising the proposal which still has to be approved by the legislature. Business leaders call on elected leaders to ensure it is a balanced policy and that private-sector employers are not unfairly shouldering the cost of COVID-19. Apply to companies with at least 26 workers, if it becomes law, it would expire in September.