California Gov. Gavin Newsom this week signed AB 1867, legislation that immediately extends critical paid sick days protections to California’s workforce. Building on historic early action to expand paid sick days to employees in the food sector at the beginning of this crisis, this legislation means that every California employee that has been exposed to or tests positive for COVID-19 will have access to paid sick days for the rest of the 2020 calendar year.
AB 1867, a budget trailer bill, closes the gaps in paid sick days provided in federal law and the Governor’s Executive Order by including employers with over 500 employees and public and private employers of first responders and health care employees who opted not to cover their employees under federal law. The bill also allows California’s Labor Commissioner to cite workplaces for a lack of paid sick days, a critical enforcement tool that will promote safety for employees and customers alike.
Bill Fills Gaps
“Helping employees stay home when they are sick is foundational in our response to COVID-19,” said Governor Newsom. “This bill fills in gaps in our federal and state paid sick days policy and gives our extraordinary employees a little more peace of mind as they take time to care for themselves and protect those around them from COVID-19. I look forward to continuing to work with the Legislature and other partners to make more progress in this space.”
Expanding access to paid sick days and protecting employees has been a priority of the Newsom Administration before and during the COVID-19 pandemic. Governor Newsom has taken several actions to benefit employees on the front lines, including paid sick days for food sector employees; workers’ compensation benefits for employees who contract COVID-19 during the stay-at-home-order; 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.