COVID-19 has created major challenges for communities across the State. Specifically, one of our most vulnerable groups, farmworkers, have faced increased economic and health risks throughout the pandemic. That is why Assemblymember Rivas has introduced a Farmworker Relief Package to address the protection, safety, housing, and rural access needs of our essential farmworkers during this crisis.
The California Farmworker COVID-19 Relief Package has been modified since it was first announced on April 9, adjusting to complement the evolving federal and state response to the pandemic. It initially included a paid sick leave expansion, then on April 16 Governor Newsom announced a robust paid sick leave policy for food supply workers, including farmworkers. The package also initially included expanded hazard pay, then on May 6 Governor Newsom signed an executive order making worker’s compensation more readily available for workers exposed to COVID-19. Meanwhile, the Federal CARES Act allocated substantial funding to childcare for essential workers, another provision of the initial Farmworker Relief Package.
THE CALIFORNIA FARMWORKER COVID-19 RELIEF PACKAGE
AB 2043 [formerly AB 2915]: Agricultural Employee COVID-19 Health & Safety Act
-- directs agricultural employers to implement the provisions of the division’s document entitled “Safety and Health Guidance: COVID-19 Infection Prevention for Agricultural Employers and Employees”; Directs the Cal/OSHA standards board to adopt occupational safety and health standards for
COVID-19 infection prevention. The standards will include, but shall not be limited to: sanitation practices, personal protective equipment (PPE), and physical distancing requirements
-- Funds an outreach campaign of public service announcements and workplace signs, in both English and Spanish, to educate farmworkers on the Cal/OSHA guidance
AB 2164: Telehealth and E-Consult Services for Rural and Community Health Centers Act
-- Deploys telehealth and e-consult services for rural and community health centers
AB 2165: E-Filing and Rural Access to Justice Act
-- Expands the availability of electronic filing to all state trial courts, given that access to courthouses is a serious problem in many farmworker and other rural communities
$25M Budget Request for Temporary Housing for Agricultural Workers
-- Expands Governor Newsom’s Project Roomkey with a $25 million allocation to provide temporary housing for agricultural workers to self-isolate if they have been exposed to or contracted COVID-19