California Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Jennifer Barrera made the following comments in response to the proposal released today to extend COVID-19 paid sick leave:
“Healthy workers and healthy customers are good for business. The proposal announced today is a balanced approach to protect both workers and our economy. By allowing workers who contract COVID-19 to stay home until they test negative, employers are, once again, leading the way on efforts to contain the virus and creating healthier workplaces that are safe for both employees and customers,” said Barrera.
“Based on concerns and input from CalChamber, the Governor’s office considerably improved their original proposal to make reinstatement of the leave far more affordable and manageable. While we understand this additional leave will be shouldered by many employers, the proposal is more limited in scope and duration than what was originally discussed. We appreciate productive discussions with the Governor’s office, Legislature, and advocates for labor,” said Barrera.
Overview of Proposal
As outlined, the proposal would reinstate temporary benefits for another nine months, retroactive to January 1, 2022, and will apply to employees who have contracted COVID-19, are subject to quarantine or isolation, as defined by state or federal authorities, are getting the vaccine or recovering from side effects from the vaccine, or are caring for a sick family member or child unable to attend school.
The proposal includes the following specific elements:
- Exempts small employers;
- Allows employers to require proof of a positive COVID-19 test if the employee is seeking more than 40 hours of leave;
- Limits the number of hours that can be used to attend a vaccine appointment or recover from vaccine-related side effects to 24 hours;
- Limits duration—expires at the end of September 2022;
- Limits the number of hours that can be used to 40 unless the employee or a family member tests positive for COVID-19;
- Ensures the rate of pay matches existing paid sick leave; and
- Makes wage statement reporting far less complicated.
The California Chamber of Commerce (CalChamber) is the largest broad-based business advocate to government in California. Membership represents one-quarter of the private sector jobs in California and includes firms of all sizes and companies from every industry within the state. Leveraging our front-line knowledge of laws and regulations, we provide products and services to help businesses comply with both federal and state law. CalChamber, a not-for-profit organization with roots dating to 1890, promotes international trade and investment in order to stimulate California’s economy and create jobs. Please visit our website at www.calchamber.com.