Workers Celebrate Passage of Desperately Needed COVID Paid Sick Leave Bill

Statement By California Labor Federation Executive Secretary-Treasurer Art Pulaski

“Today’s passage of COVID paid sick leave is an important victory for frontline workers and families across the state. Paid sick leave is one of the most potent weapons we have in the arsenal to slow the spread and protect workers and the public.

“As the Omicron surge intensified, workers screamed from the rooftops about the desperate need to reinstate COVID paid sick leave. Tens of thousands of working people signed petitions, made phone calls and took other action to call on the Legislature and the governor to extend the COVID paid leave that expired on Oct. 1 of last year. The governor and Legislature heard frontline workers loud and clear, and we appreciate them acting with urgency to get this done. Once again, California shows it’s a national leader on worker protections and COVID mitigation.

“Even with the spread of Omicron showing signs of slowing, COVID sick leave will remain in place until the fall of this year to provide a layer of protection against the next variant or surge. California must remain vigilant to keep workers safe and businesses and schools open. Paid sick leave is key to ensuring no worker has to make the impossible choice of going to work sick or losing wages needed to make rent and keep food on the table. We look forward to expanding paid sick leave in the future to protect workers and our communities.

“We thank Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon and Senate Pro Tem Toni Atkins for their leadership in making this happen and Assembly and Senate champions Assemblymember Wendy Carrillo and Senator Maria Elena Durazo for their tireless advocacy. We appreciate Gov. Gavin Newsom’s strong support of this proposal and we look forward to him quickly signing this bill into law.”

To set up an interview with a worker who benefits from COVID paid sick leave, contact Steve Smith at 510-326-4644 or ssmith@calaborfed.org.