Paid COVID Leave

At the persistent urging of your union, UFCW, Governor Gavin Newsom and the California Legislature have agreed to a new deal on providing workers with up to two weeks of paid sick leave to keep workers from having to choose between going to work or staying home to care for themselves and their families if they get sick from COVID-19.

The agreement came after labor unions and workers across the state spoke out and stood up to demand the state recognize the benefit paid sick leave brings to public health as well as the economic imperative to allow workers to recover from COVID-19 without missing a paycheck or exposing co-workers and the public with whom they interact.

Your union, UFCW, is working diligently with Governor Newsom and the Legislature to ensure workers have access to this benefit as soon as possible. Here’s what we know right now:

  • All workers of employers with 26 or more employees will receive 40 hours of Supplemental Paid Sick Leave for allowable uses such as school/daycare closures, to go to a vaccine appointment and recover from symptoms for you or a child (for a maximum of three days), and if isolating or quarantining from COVID-19 or taking care of a family member isolating or quarantining from COVID-19.
  • An additional bank of 40 hours of Supplemental Paid Sick Leave is available if either you or a family member tests positive for COVID-19. Your employer may request documentation of this.
    • We know this can be confusing. Here’s some examples: after you take the first 40 hours of sick leave available, a worker must receive a positive test result to secure the next 40 hours of sick leave. If a worker falls ill first, and then the worker’s child soon follows, a worker will need to show a positive test from the child to access the additional 40 hours. This would also be true if a child becomes sick first and then worker gets sick sometime after—the worker would need to show a positive test to access the additional 40 hours.
  • Employers must pay for and provide testing. If no test is provided by your employer, you can receive another 40 hours, for a total of 80. If you refuse to show a positive test, no additional sick leave will be granted beyond 40 hours.
  • This leave will be retroactively applied to January 1, 2022 and will end on September 30, 2022.

This new law is different from SB 95, which provided you COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave in 2021. When we have more information about how the laws are different, how workers can access the new benefits, what circumstances it covers and more answers to your burning questions, we’ll provide them. The bill is expected to be passed next week.

We wanted to take this opportunity to thank you and your coworkers for speaking out and ensuring that workers’ voices were heard by our elected leaders. This would not have been possible without your passion and leadership.