Governor Announces Paid Sick Leave Benefits for Food Sector Workers Impacted by COVID-19

Governor Gavin Newsom today signed an executive order to support California workers from large employers in the food sector industry impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic with two weeks of paid sick leave, filling a gap left by federal relief that had provided similar paid leave benefits for employers with fewer than 500 workers.  Workers in the food sector, including farmworkers, agricultural workers, and those working in grocery stores and fast food chains, and as delivery drivers, are part of the state’s essential infrastructure workforce, and have continued to work to serve Californians.  Unlike federal law though, there is no tax relief or credit associated with this cost.  The Executive Order applies to Wage Orders 3, 8, 13, and 14, and certain food facilities (such as grocery stores), and those that deliver food to those food facilities.  Additionally, the Executive Order provides health and safety standards to increase worker and customer protection by permitting workers at food facilities to wash their hands every 30 minutes, or as needed, to increase proper sanitation measures.