Governor Signs Sick Leave, Small Business Relief Bills

Watching as Governor Gavin Newsom signs the COVID-19 small business tax relief and paid sick leave extension bills are (standing, from left): Senator Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley), CalChamber President and CEO Jennifer Barrera, California Labor Secretary Natalie Palugyai, Assemblymember Mia Bonta (D-Oakland) and Assemblymember Wendy Carrillo (D-Los Angeles).

Governor Gavin Newsom this week signed a bill package providing $6.1 billion in tax relief, tax credits and grants for small businesses hurt by the pandemic and extending COVID-19 paid sick leave for workers.

California Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Jennifer Barrera joined the Governor and others at a small business in Oakland for the signing of the bills, the product of extensive discussions between the Governor’s office, legislative leaders, business and labor representatives.


After thanking legislative leaders for their part in advancing the legislation, the Governor said he wanted to make “a particular expression of appreciation to Jennifer and the California Chamber for their willingness to work together with the California Labor Fed[eration].

“This is what it looks like when everybody works together and rows in the same direction, working to address anxieties and concerns, and compromise, and find a balance that strikes a chord with the vast majority of Californians.”

SB 113 (Senate Committee on Budget and Fiscal Review) is the early action budget relief package for businesses.

SB 114 (Senate Committee on Budget and Fiscal Review) extends COVID-19 supplemental paid sick leave for workers.

Business Role

In remarks preceding the bill signing, Barrera cited the unprecedented challenges businesses have met over the past two years, noting that “Businesses, both large and small, have stepped up to the plate to protect their employees” during the pandemic.

The business relief package, she said, “is essential, not only for the immediate help of employers, but it also creates a pathway and lays the foundation for long-term economic recovery for our employers.”

Small Business Relief

The $6.1 billion in the SB 113 relief package includes:

• Nearly $500 million in relief for restaurants and shuttered venues by conforming state tax policy with federal policy, which does not tax grants received from the federal Restaurant Revitalization Fund and Shuttered Venue Operators grant programs.

• Restoring $5.5 billion in tax credits and deductions by restoring the research and development tax credit and the net operating loss deduction a year earlier than set when the tax incentives were removed in 2020 legislation.

• $150 million in funding for California’s Small Business COVID-19 Relief Grants Program for pandemic-affected applicants previously waitlisted when applying for the grants of up to $25,000.

COVID-19 Leave

Through close discussions, what evolved was an improved COVID sick leave policy that is “more limited and targeted” and “removes some of the administrative challenges that employers faced during this unpredictability caused by the pandemic,” Barrera said.

Small businesses with 25 or fewer employees are exempt from the legislation, which is retroactive to sick leave taken beginning January 1, 2022.

Employees will have access to up to 80 hours of COVID-19 supplemental paid sick leave through September 30, 2022. They may use that sick leave when, for example, they have been advised to quarantine, are caring for COVID-affected family members, attending a COVID-19 vaccination appointment and other situations (for more details, see the summary in The Workplace podcast).