COVID-19 supplemental paid sick leave ending this week in California

California requires all employers to set aside three days of paid sick leave for each worker.

The bill that the governor signed in March provided as much as 80 hours of supplemental sick leave but it will soon expire.

"Three sick days is not sufficient," says San Mateo County Public Health Equity Officer Dr. Curtis Chan. "So, therefore, they'll be forced to choose between keeping their families housed, fed, safe and with a job, or reporting to work while ill."

The California Chamber of Commerce opposes extending the extra paid leave.

It maintains business owners can't afford paid leave without a federal tax credit, which is also expiring.

Those who work paycheck to paycheck say the supplemental paid leave was used as a lifeline.

"Without adequate sick leave, workers like myself cannot follow public health orders to quarantine ourselves without the fear of losing our jobs or income," says Carolyn Denise Barlage.

The extra paid leave comes to an end as the Delta variant continues to spike infection rates around the state.

With kids back in school, worker advocates worry about parents who can't afford to miss any more work.

"They've done the right things," says Matt Bell with United Food and Commercial Workers. "They wear the masks. They do everything that's been required of them, yet their lives can change on a dime just from a text from a school or from a breakthrough case because they're out every single day serving the community."

The state legislature recessed last month without taking action to extend the program.
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