By: Ashley Hoffman

The California Chamber of Commerce is supporting the Governor’s budget proposal to allocate $250 million for relief grants to help small businesses and nonprofits offset the costs of providing COVID-19 supplemental paid sick leave.

Since early 2020, California businesses have been shouldering a tremendous amount of the costs of COVID-19 and have spent billions of dollars to ensure their employees are safe during the pandemic.

Employers have subsidized additional paid time off for employees who contracted COVID-19, required vaccination, or needed to care for a family member due to COVID-19. The costs have included:

• three rounds of COVID-19 supplemental paid sick leave;

• the Cal/OSHA Emergency Temporary Standard’s exclusion pay (which amounted to unlimited paid sick leave related to COVID-19 throughout the pandemic for employees who tested positive or were excluded from work due to an exposure);

• mandated closures;

• purchasing of personal protective equipment (PPE), and other requirements.

Although the federal government offered some tax credits to help offset the costs of COVID-19 supplemental paid sick leave in 2020 and 2021, no credits were available in 2022.

Due to the aforementioned costs of COVID-19, many small businesses shuttered permanently or reduced hours to survive. For those fortunate enough to still be in operation, these grants will help offset some of the costs that small businesses were required to absorb in 2022.

Small businesses are essential to our communities. It is crucial that California support them after three years of financial difficulty.

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