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The San Francisco Chronicle interviewed Dr. Jody Heymann, a UCLA distinguished professor of public health, public policy, and medicine, on the likely impact on public health of the expiration of California’s paid sick leave extensions during the pandemic, set for Sept. 30
California’s special COVID-19 sick-leave policy, which has sustained many low-income workers during the pandemic, is set to expire Sept. 30, a change that is raising fears of new disruptions for communities of color and others disproportionately affected by the coronavirus.
The looming cutoff — which would erase the requirement for an extra two weeks of paid sick days — comes just as the highly transmissible and potent delta variant is sending more people to hospitals, even amid higher rates of vaccination. Low-income workers, many in jobs requiring them to interact with the public, face financial loss if they don’t get paid while staying home when infected with the coronavirus. But they risk the public health as well as their own well-being if they do report to work out of financial necessity, proponents of the policy say.
The state Legislature would have to act before Friday’s close of session to keep the COVID sick-leave policy alive. The extension measure was not in print for public review by Tuesday night, the deadline for it to be eligible for a vote by Friday.