A long line of people waited to be tested in City Heights. Photo by Chris Stone
A long line of people wait to be tested in City Heights. Photo by Chris Stone

Amid the nationwide surge in COVID-19 cases driven by the Omicron variant, California legislative leaders announced Tuesday a plan to bring back supplemental paid sick leave though Sept. 30.

The joint announcement was made by Gov. Gavin Newsom, Senate President pro Tempore Toni G. Atkins and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon.

The proposed legislation would apply to all businesses with 26 or more employees and is similar to a law that expired last September.

The new sick leave would cover up to 80 hours with proof of a positive COVID test and be retroactive to Jan. 1.

The legislation requires approval by the state Assembly and Senate to become law.

“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,” the three lawmakers said in a statement.

They promised to address the needs of small businesses by restoring a variety of tax credits, providing tax relief for recipients of federal COVID grants, and increasing funding for the Small Business COVID-19 Relief Grant Program.

“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,” the lawmakers said.

Nathan Fletcher, chair of the San Diego County Board of Supervisors, praised the extension of paid sick leave.

“Hard-working San Diegans should not have to make the difficult choice between protecting their health and providing their family with food or a roof over their head,” said Fletcher.

Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.