California governor orders sick pay and protection for front-line food workers
Gavin Newsom called food workers our 'unsung heroes'
The governor of California, Gavin Newsom, has shown some real support for food workers this week. He signed an executive order on April 16 that will provide additional paid sick leave and protections for food workers in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.
Newsom effectively called people who are working in the food industry right now front-line workers.
In a statement he said: “These workers on the front lines of this crisis are our unsung heroes for continuing to work to ensure that Californians have food on their tables during these challenging times, and we must do everything in our power to make sure they are taken care of at home and in the workplace. Making sure they have paid sick leave and added protections in their place of work is critical.”
This new executive order fills in a gap left by federal relief which gave similar paid leave benefits for companies with fewer than 500 employees. On April 1, the federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act required employers of fewer than 500 employees to pay two weeks of sick leave benefits who weren’t able to work due to COVID-19.
This Californian order now provides workers at companies which have more than 500 employees, two weeks of supplemental paid leave. This would include farm workers, delivery drivers, grocery store employees, and fast food staff.
Many food sector workers don’t have paid sick leave as standard leave. Now, any Californian staff who need to self-isolate or get health treatment will receive a supplemental pay check.
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.