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COVID-19 paid sick leave could return for some, but not all, CA workers

California governor announces paid sick leave for food, grocery workers during COVID-19 pandemic
Posted at 6:42 AM, Jan 26, 2022

On Tuesday state lawmakers came to an agreement with Governor Gavin Newsom to provide employees with up to two weeks of paid sick leave if they or a member of their household tests positive for COVID-19.

But the paid sick leave only applies to companies with 26 or more employees.

If the bill is approved and signed into law, the paid sick leave would cover absences during the time period of Jan. 1 through the end of September.

"We have social workers, nurses, head starts, Red Crosses [sic], office assistants, county workers. [...] It's so important that COVID sick leave is passed to make sure that our workers don't have to choose between working or paying rent, working or taking care of their families, working or food on the table," Crystal Irving, President of Service Employees International Union Local 221, said.

It's something Central Coast residents say is important, given the increase in COVID cases.

"It'll be helpful because COVID is a pretty big risk nowadays. It's spreading pretty fast, and I feel like there's not enough safe checks in place," said Sherwin Raoufi, a Cal Poly student.

The aid will also help parents who need to stay home with their sick kids.

"Being able to get a financial support without leaving your house is definitely very good for parents that are struggling with taking care of their family," Raoufi said.

Most of the people KSBY talked to agree with extending the paid leave.

"I feel like people being able to get paid while being at home is definitely a good benefit for us all as a whole," said Raoufi.

"You know if you get COVID and you can't work, times are harder. You need that to get back on your feet," said Luciano Curtese, another Cal Poly Student said.

You can find the latest COVID-19 data in San Luis Obispo County and Santa Barbara County online or in our ongoing coverage.