Agriculture · Highlight

Newsom announces additional coronavirus paid sick leave for Ag industry

UPDATE (4/16/20, 2 p.m.): Gov. Gavin Newsom signed an executive order creating two weeks supplemental paid sick leave for workers in the food service and food supply chain workers who have contracted or exposed coronavirus or been ordered to quarantine, as previously reported by The Sun.

Newsom announced the order during his Thursday coronavirus briefing. The order includes IWC wage order #14, previously unreported by The Sun.

4/16/20, 8:50 a.m.: Gov. Gavin Newsom is set to roll out new mandates for the state’s agriculture industry – one of the few major Valley industries deemed essential as part of the state’s quarantine order.

Newsom is expected to announce Thursday afternoon that California will require ag employers to provide paid sick leave to workers who fall under three of the state’s Industrial Wage Commission wage orders, sources with knowledge told The Sun.

The roll out is adding to farm sector worries about the potential for food shortages amid a potential workforce reduction.

“The Governor is encouraging food shortages and disruptions across our entire distribution,” a Valley farming source, who declined to be named, said of Newsom’s plan.

The sick leave orders cover the canning, freezing, and preserving industries, industries handling products after harvest, and industries preparing ag products for market on the farm.

These industries are covered by IWC wage orders #3, 8, and 13.

Ag workers would be eligible for the state’s paid sick leave policy if they tested for coronavirus or were issued a quarantine order by a medical practitioner.

The Federal government, through the Families First Coronavirus Protection Act, provided employers with a companion payroll tax credit to equal to workers’ two week salary rate of paid sick leave and a partial payroll credit for family leave.

Alex Tavlian
Alex Tavlian is the Executive Editor of The San Joaquin Valley Sun and Executive Director of Valley Future Foundation. You can reach Alex at alex.tavlian@sjvsun.com.