Home Industry News Releases California Association of Winegrape Growers Announces COVID-19 Financial Relief Legislation 

California Association of Winegrape Growers Announces COVID-19 Financial Relief Legislation 

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SACRAMENTO, February 15, 2023 – The California Association of Winegrape Growers (CAWG) is sponsoring Senate Bill 375 by Senator Marie Alvarado-Gil (D-Jackson) to provide employers with financial relief from the cost of compliance with the new COVID-19 workplace safety standards that took effect on February 4. SB 375 was introduced on February 10 and would provide an annual credit against state payroll taxes to reimburse employers for costs such as testing, masking, ventilation systems, exclusion from work, and other pandemic-based regulatory compliance costs.  

“CAWG and our members appreciate the commonsense leadership displayed by Senator  Alvarado-Gil in authoring this much needed legislation. SB 375 will support California employers and growers throughout the state, including those in the foothill wine regions represented by Senator Alvarado-Gil, who are still recovering from the pandemic,” said Natalie Collins, CAWG  President.  

“The COVID-19 Prevention Non-Emergency Regulations make employers liable for a community spread virus. This is nonsensical, especially in rural communities where small businesses are the backbone of the economy,” said Alvarado-Gil. 

California’s emergency COVID-19 regulation recently ended and was replaced by the new  regulation, which will stay in effect until February 3, 2025. SB 375 provides an annual tax credit which would be capped at $100 per employee for small employers and $50 per employee for large employers. 

“There is no evidence that the new COVID-19 Prevention Non-Emergency Regulations will reduce the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace. These needless regulations ignore actions by President Biden and Governor Newsom to end state and federal COVID-19 public health declarations,” said Collins. “For the next two years, the new regulations require employers to provide the social safety net for COVID-19 with no real benefit to employees.” 

“California still has some of the most rigid COVID-19 workplace standards in the country,” said Alvarado-Gil. “To the extent that our state government demands that California be the outlier, I believe the state should bear those costs, not employers who are still recovering from the  shutdown in 2020.”

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