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New Proposed Bills Extending Paid Sick Leave

Bills would extend COVID-19 food sector paid sick leave

By Chris Micheli, February 22, 2021 7:30 pm

On February 22, Senator Nancy Skinner amended her Senate Bill 95 and Assembly Member Phil Ting amended his Assembly Bill 84 to provide a new paid sick leave program.  The bills would amend Sections 248 and 248.1 of the Labor Code. As budget trailer bills, SB 95 and AB 84 would take effect immediately as bills related to the budget.

Senator Nancy Skinner. (Kevin Sanders for California Globe)

Section One of the bill would amend Labor Code Section 248 dealing with the COVID-19 Food Sector Supplemental Paid Sick Leave to include those persons who are unable to work or telework because of a reason specified in subsection (b)(1), which lists those food sector workers who are entitled to paid sick leave. In addition, this bill would provide five additional workers, who are listed in subdivisions (b)(1)(D) – (H). These include the following:

  • The food sector worker is attending an appointment to receive a vaccine for protection against contracting COVID-19.
  • The food sector worker is experiencing symptoms related to a COVID-19 vaccine that prevents the worker from being able to work.
  • The food sector worker is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and seeking a medical diagnosis.
  • The food sector worker is caring for an individual who is subject to an order described in subparagraph (A), has been advised to self-quarantine or self-isolate as described in subparagraph (B), or is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and seeking a medical diagnosis as described in subparagraph (E).
  • The food sector worker is caring for an individual whose school or place of care is closed or otherwise unavailable for reasons related to COVID-19.

The bill would clarify that the food sector paid sick leave is per calendar year. In addition, it would make this paid sick leave program retroactive to January 1, 2021 and would set the leave program to expire on September 30, 2021.

Section Two of the bill would amend Labor Code Section 248.1 which provides a COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave program to all persons, including those who are transportation network drivers and provide services for or through a TNC.

Under Section 248.1, a “covered work” means a person employed by a hiring entity (which is any type of public or private entity or any other kind of business enterprise) or a TNC driver. As such, all workers are covered regardless of employer size or type of industry. These persons would be entitled to paid sick leave for any of the following reasons:

  • The covered worker is subject to a federal, state, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19.
  • The covered worker is advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine or self-isolate due to concerns related to COVID-19.
  • The covered worker is prohibited from working by the covered worker’s hiring entity due to health concerns related to the potential transmission of COVID-19.
  • The covered worker is attending an appointment to receive a vaccine for protection against contracting COVID-19.
  • The covered worker is experiencing symptoms related to a COVID-19 vaccine that prevents the worker from being able to work.
  • The covered worker is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and seeking a medical diagnosis.
  • The covered worker is caring for an individual who is subject to an order described in subparagraph (A), has been advised to self-quarantine or self-isolate as described in subparagraph (B), or is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and seeking a medical diagnosis as described in subparagraph (E).
  • The covered worker is caring for an individual whose school or place of care is closed or otherwise unavailable for reasons related to COVID-19.

Section Three of the bill provides a severability clause so that, if any provision of this act or its application is held invalid, that invalidity shall not affect other provisions or applications that can be given effect without the invalid provision or application.

Section Four of the bill would appropriate $100,000 to the Labor Commissioner for staffing resources to implement and enforce the provisions related to the COVID-19 supplemental paid sick leave and the COVID-19 food sector supplemental paid sick leave.

Section Five of the bill would provide that the amendments to these two Labor Code Sections “shall be deemed to have become operative on January 1, 2021, and the amendments shall be given retroactive effect to that date.”

Section Six of the bill provides that SB 95 and AB 84 are bills providing for appropriations related to the Budget Bill and will therefore take effect immediately upon being chaptered in law. These two bills could be heard by the end of this week or early next week.

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