COVID sick leave to be extended for Californians, lawmakers announce

California Gov. Gavin Newsom and state lawmakers on Tuesday reached an agreement that would bring back paid COVID sick leave through the end of September.

The deal would allow California workers to access up to two weeks of supplemental paid sick leave if they contract COVID or to care for a relative who has the virus.

"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. We will continue to work to address additional needs of small businesses through the budget – they are the backbone of our communities and continue to be impacted by COVID-19,"  Newsom, Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon and Senate Pro Tem Toni Atkins said in a joint statement. 

Under the new deal, companies with 26 or more employees would be required to provide up to 40 hours of paid sick leave to full-time workers. Those workers could then qualify for an additional 40 hours if they provide proof of a positive COVID test, according to the Los Angeles Times. Part-time employees would be eligible for sick leave equal to the number of hours they work in a week or twice that amount with a positive test.

The legislation mirrors a law from 2021 that provided 80 hours of supplemental paid sick leave to workers. However, that law expired on Sept. 30 of that year.

While there was no official timeline on this new agreement, lawmakers would likely fast-track it to the governor in the coming weeks.