CENTRAL COAST, Calif. (KION) Workers won't be able to take paid sick leave related to coronavirus since the COVID-19 supplemental paid sick leave ends on Thursday.
“We know that paid leave is a benefit that keeps workers employed,” Monterey County Board Supervisor Wendy Root Askew.
Monterey County sent out a survey to all workers who used COVID-19 supplemental paid days between March 2020 to May 2021. A third of these workers said they would not have been able to stay at their jobs if the county had not offered the additional hours. This is why Monterey County will continue to offer 80 hours of sick leave.
"We know that paid leave and flexible work in times of crisis is absolutely essential to keep people employed and working," she said. "I would encourage all of our, local employers to really look at how they can find ways to support their workforce, utilizing what we know is an effective strategy.”
Monterey Bay Central Labor Council was one of the organizations at the forefront of the expansion, that had been expected to end in March of this year. Executing Director Cesar Lara said the program ending today isn't good news for workers as people continue to be infected regardless of their vaccination status
"In the end, it's about people's health, and it's about staying alive," said Lara. "Our community has lost people in our community because of this illness. We don't want a worker that gets sick and still feels that they need to go to work."
According to Lara, there is still time for the state to show leadership and expand the program. Some workers will be more impacted than others, especially those who are nonunionized. However, he reminds people that life is more important, and staying home helps prevent further spread.
"I think economically if workers continue going to work while they're sick, and transmitting that illness to other workers, it's going to hurt the economy overall," he said. "So the more that we're able to incentivize workers to do the right thing, the better.”