Newsom extends benefits until 2022

Newsom extends benefits until 2022

The bill requires California businesses with 26 or more employees to continue to provide up to 80 hours of additional paid sick leave to employees unable to work due to COVID. It also covers sick leave for workers who take time off to care for infected family members.

Existing COVID sick pay warrants were due to expire on Friday.

Small businesses and nonprofits will remain eligible for grants of up to $50,000 to help defray the cost of additional paid sick leave.

Union leaders applauded the extension, calling the bill a boon for workers who might otherwise face tough choices if they become infected. State law only requires a minimum of three days of paid sick leave.

“For three years, frontline essential workers have been put in situations where they have to choose between going to work sick or staying home and risking their income and their jobs,” according to SEIU United Service Workers West, a union that represents more than 45,000 California janitors, security guards and service workers.

“Without this safety net, they are often unable to follow public health advice and self-quarantine when sick or exposed, keep sick or exposed children home after school, caring for a sick family, getting vaccinated or recovering from vaccine side effects without risking their jobs or paying,” the union said.

Unions and lawmakers have pushed for the extra furlough to be reinstated even as the number of COVID cases, hospitalizations and deaths in California continued to drop after a deadly summer surge.

Nora Mishanec is a staff writer for the San Francisco Chronicle. Email: nora.mishanec@sfchronicle.com Twitter: @NMishanec

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