New California Covid Sick Leave Excludes 1 in 4 Workers

California Governor Newsom signs the sick leave bill.

California recently passed a bill extending Covid leave for workers until September 30, 2022 and allowing it to be used retroactively to January 1, 2022. The bill allows up to 80 hours of Covid related paid sick leave.

However, the bill does not apply to small businesses of 26 or less employees, which leaves out one in four workers. Workers at small companies, on average, earn lower wages and often can’t afford to take unpaid time off. Not only that, they are 3.5 times more likely to miss a week of work due to Covid.

The state claims imposing Covid leave on small businesses would create staffing issues. But this is not a legitimate excuse. If politicians really cared about workers, they would offer Covid leave to all of us, regardless of where we work as well as provide adequate resources to support small businesses. And the money to do this is there; California is projected to have a $45 billion budget surplus this year!

Yet another example of how our lives and health are not a priority for the system.