SEIU Workers Help Secure an Extension of Essential COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave
Last week, Governor Gavin Newsom signed AB 152 to extend COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave to essential workers until December 31, 2022. COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave was previously set to expire on September 30 2022, leaving workers with only the state-mandated three paid sick days as the state faces the possibility of fall and winter surges of the highly transmissible virus.
For three years, essential frontline workers have been placed in situations where they have to choose between either going to work while sick or staying home and risking their income and their job. Without this safety net, they are often unable to follow public health advice and quarantine when sick or exposed, keep sick or exposed children home from school, care for sick family members, get vaccinated, or recover from vaccine side effects without risking their job or pay.
“Throughout the pandemic, SEIU members and other union workers stood up to demand that all working people deserve to be respected and safe at work. This year, we demanded an extension of the pandemic supplemental paid sick leave benefits until the end of the year, and we won it,” said David Huerta, President of SEIU California and SEIU United Service Workers West (USWW). “The corporations were against us, but the Governor signed it. The big takeaway here is that when workers have a union, we’re able to win for every worker, whether they are in a union or not. We stand up to corporations and billionaires and demand decent treatment for all.”
We know paid sick leave saves lives. One study found that states whose workers newly gained access to paid sick leave through the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) saw four hundred fewer confirmed cases per day, translating into approximately one case prevented for every 1,300 workers per day.