COVID-19 Omicron Variant Will Likely Lead to Reinstatement of California Paid Sick Leave
Under a proposal announced Jan. 25 by Gov. Gavin Newsom and California’s top legislative leaders, workers can get up to two weeks of paid sick leave if they come down with COVID-19 and businesses can get up to $6 billion in tax cuts and other assistance, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.
“California’s ability to take early budget action will protect workers and provide real relief to businesses reeling from this latest surge,” said Newsom and legislative leaders in a statement. “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.”
California had paid sick leave last year, which expired in September. However, labor unions pushed state officials to bring paid sick leave back.
The San Francisco Chronicle added that business groups have been opposed to extra sick leave as many industries are still trying to recover from the pandemic. Last year, many businesses were able to use a federal tax cut credit to make up for extra paid sick leave, but that credit is no longer available.
Newsom has also decided to end some tax increases on businesses, which were used at the start of the pandemic to prevent a major budget deficit. Funds are being redirected toward a state grant program for businesses and state taxes are not being charged for some federal grants. This amounts to $6 billion for businesses, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
The proposal applies to companies with at least 26 workers. Workers would get one week of paid time off and an additional week if they or their family members test positive. Companies are required to provide and cover the cost of coronavirus tests. The proposal would expire on Sept. 30, 2022.
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