California employees who become infected with COVID-19 can expect up to two weeks of paid sick leave. 

On Tuesday, Gov. Gavin Newsom endorsed the deal that would require employers to give workers sick with coronavirus or caring for a family member time off and allow businesses to get up to $6 billion in tax cuts as well as other assistance.

Full-time employees could receive up to 40 hours of flexible paid leave and would be required to provide proof of a positive COVID-19 test to be eligible for an additional 40 hours of paid time off. The legislation would apply to all businesses with 26 or more employees.

Part-time employees will be allowed to receive sick leave based on the number of hours they work in a week. They can also receive twice the amount of time off by providing a positive COVID test.

“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,” Newsom said in a joint statement with state Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins and state Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon. “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 plan will also cover coronavirus-related leave since Jan. 1 and will expire Sept. 30, 2022.

The decision comes amid a Bloomberg report that found U.S. workers lose an estimated $22.5 billion in wages annually due to poor paid family and medical leave plans.

Since it has been left up to states to pass laws on paid sick leave,  experts believe the issue of lost wages will continue unless something is done on a national level.

“If [paid leave] doesn’t pass nationally, what we’re going to see is states passing their own laws and private employers moving on this issue,” said Lauren Smith Brody, founder of The Fifth Trimester, a movement to help parents and businesses revolutionize workplace culture. “And there’s going to be an even greater gap between companies that support families, and those that don’t — and places where it’s good to live if you want to have a family.”

President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better plan would have offered more solutions to assist Americans with paid sick leave, whether it was for self-care or to act as a caregiver. 

The proposal would have covered full-time employees, contract workers and more. 

What the hell is wrong with us, and when are we going to come to grips with this?" asked California Governor Gavin Newsom at a press conference "What the hell is wrong with us, and when are we going to come to grips with this?" asked California Governor Gavin Newsom at a press conference Photo: AFP / Amy Osborne