Governor Gavin Newsom Orders Paid Sick Leave and Protections for Food Workers

Ashlyn Davis Ashlyn Davis

paid sick leave

The California Governor announces much-needed support for the unsung heroes keeping us fed during the pandemic.

On Thursday, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed an executive order that will create further support for frontline workers during the pandemic, which in turn, will improve safety for customers.

The order provides food workers affected by COVID-19 with two weeks of supplemental sick leave. The order applies to workers in companies with 500 or more employees and includes grocery store employees, farmworkers, delivery drivers, and fast-food staff.

Additionally, workers at food facilities will be permitted to wash their hands every 30 minutes, or as needed, to increase health and safety standards for both workers and customers.

Alongside these measures, the Administration has recently issued guidance for the grocery industry on best practices on physical distancing, disinfecting, and the use of reusable bags. The Governor has also released $100 million to support child care for essential workers, which includes grocery workers, and vulnerable populations.

Concerns over the safety measures in grocery stores and food services have weighed on everyone’s mind. While most of us are staying home ensuring a healthy distance from our friends and neighbors, the food industry has proven to be ill-prepared for managing the situation, in addition to being critically underreported. And ultimately, the safety of workers in the food industry impacts the safety of everyone.

Food chains like McDonald’s have experienced major strikes as workers have report insufficient personal protect equipment, safety measures, and sick pay. A number of LA employees have also tested positive for COVID-19.

While the order does not address all the needs of workers, it at least affords them the opportunity to seek medical attention and self-isolate, knowing that their paycheck will be covered.

Featured image: Louis Hansel

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