Federal pandemic unemployment benefits are ending
Federal pandemic unemployment benefits are ending on September 4, 2021. If you’ve received unemployment benefits for longer than 26 weeks, your benefits will end. If you’ve received benefits for less than 26 weeks, your benefit amount will go down. You may qualify for other programs to help cover food, housing, utility, and healthcare expenses.Learn more
Resources are available to support workers and businesses financially affected by COVID-19.
On this page:
- Benefits for workers
- COVID-19 workplace safety
- Vaccination and testing requirements
- Financial help for businesses
Benefits for workers
There are several benefits available to workers impacted by COVID-19. You may be able to take advantage of:
- Unemployment insurance
- Pandemic unemployment assistance
- Paid sick leave
- Paid family leave
- Disability insurance
- Workers’ compensation
Information about these benefits is available in this chart from the Labor and Workforce Development Agency.
Work search requirement
Starting July 11, 2021, you must search for work to receive your benefits. Your work search requirements depend on your claim type. Find yours at Returning to Work.
More benefits if you were self-employed
You may be eligible for the Mixed Earner Unemployment Compensation (MEUC) program if you:
- Receive regular unemployment benefits, and
- Earned self-employment income of $5,000 or more in the year before claiming unemployment benefits
You are not eligible for MEUC if you receive Pandemic Unemployment Assistance.
Apply for MEUC by September 6, 2021.
Sick leave and other benefits
If you cannot work because you (or a family member you’re taking care of) are sick or quarantined due to COVID-19, there are options.
Learn about leave benefits in the:
- Worker leave and pay benefits related to COVID-19
- Paid leave benefits chart
- Eligibility navigator for COVID-19 supplemental paid sick leave
You may also be able to use paid sick leave or COVID-19 supplemental paid sick leave to:
- Go to your vaccine appointment
- If you experience vaccine-related side effects
Check the paid leave options for more information.
Read about keeping workplaces safe while upholding civil rights in the Department of Fair Employment and Housing’s FAQs.
Hotel rooms for healthcare workers
On June 15, 2021, the Hotel rooms for California healthcare workers program was discontinued for all facilities except those located in Riverside, Imperial, and San Diego counties. This program keeps healthcare workers safe and reduces the spread of COVID-19. It provides hotel rooms to healthcare workers who give critical care to COVID-19 patients so they do not bring the virus home to their household.
COVID-19 workplace safety
Physical distancing and capacity limits for businesses and activities are over. Guidance for specific industries has ended. But employers are still responsible for maintaining safe environments for employees and customers.
COVID-19 Prevention Emergency Temporary Standards
Employers must follow workplace safety and health regulations to protect workers. That includes protecting workers from COVID-19. Follow the COVID-19 Prevention Emergency Temporary Standards (ETS) to keep your workplace safe. They cover:
- How to prevent infection in the workplace
- What to do about outbreaks
- How to keep employees safe in employer-provided transportation and housing
Visit Safer At Work to learn more about COVID-19 workplace safety.
Masking at work
Masks are recommended for everyone at work indoors, whether they are vaccinated or unvaccinated. The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) encourages employers and workers to follow the California Department of Public Health’s Guidance for the Use of Face Coverings.
Returning to work after getting sick or exposed to COVID-19
Employers must ensure workers meet the criteria in the ETS before they return to work.
Workers that have COVID-19 symptoms
If a worker has symptoms, they cannot return to work until all of these are true:
- At least 10 days have passed since their symptoms began
- Their fever has been gone for 24 hours without the aid of medication
- Their symptoms have improved
This applies whether they are vaccinated or not. A negative test is not required to return to work.
Workers that do not have COVID-19 symptoms, but test positive
If a worker does not have symptoms, but tests positive, they cannot return to work for at least 10 days after they first tested positive. This applies whether they are vaccinated or not. A negative test is not required to return to work.
Workers that do not have COVID-19 symptoms, but had close contact
A worker who had close contact with someone who has COVID-19 can continue to go to work if all of these are true:
- They have either:
- Been fully vaccinated
- Recovered from COVID-19 in the last 90 days
- They do not have symptoms
- They did not test positive
If a worker does not have symptoms, had close contact, and is not vaccinated, when they may return to work depends:
- If they test negative after Day 5 from the last date of exposure, they may return to work after Day 7
- If they do not get tested, they cannot return to work for at least 10 days since their last exposure to COVID-19
Vaccination and testing requirements
In some workplaces, workers must verify that they are fully vaccinated, or be regularly tested for COVID-19.
Healthcare facilities and congregate settings
People who work in these facilities must verify that they are fully vaccinated:
- Healthcare facilities
- Adult and senior care facilities
- Homeless shelters
- Correctional facilities and detention centers
Exceptions can only be made for those with a:
- Conflicting religious belief
- Qualified medical reason
Workers in these facilities who will not or cannot be vaccinated must:
- Get tested for COVID-19 regularly
- Wear masks
Find details about the vaccine requirement for healthcare workers:
- Vaccine requirement for healthcare workers
- Questions and answers about the healthcare worker vaccine requirement
Find details about the vaccine requirement for healthcare workers in correctional facilities and detention centers:
- Vaccine requirement for healthcare workers in correctional facilities and detention centers
- Questions and answers about the vaccine requirement for healthcare workers in correctional facilities and detention centers
For information about healthcare worker protections in high-risk settings, check:
- Healthcare worker protections in high-risk settings
- Questions and answers about healthcare worker protections in high-risk settings
State employees working on-site must verify that they are fully vaccinated, or get tested regularly for COVID-19 and wear a mask.
Teachers and school employees must verify that they are fully vaccinated, or get tested regularly for COVID-19.Find a testing location Get your digital vaccine record
Providing N95 respirators
Employers must provide unvaccinated employees with N95 respirators upon their request and at no cost. California is providing a one-month supply of N95 respirators to small businesses. Visit the Voluntary N95 Distribution page if your business would like to participate in this program.
Employers may require employees to be vaccinated
An employer can require their employees to receive a COVID-19 vaccine as long as the employer:
- Does not discriminate against or harass employees or job applicants on the basis of a protected characteristic, such as disability or national origin
- Provides reasonable accommodations related to disability or sincerely-held religious beliefs or practices
- Does not retaliate against anyone for engaging in protected activities, such as requesting a reasonable accommodation
Learn more about workplace safety and civil rights in the Department of Fair Employment and Housing’s FAQs.
Find details about reasonable accommodations in the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) Commission’s information about COVID-19 and EEO laws.
Request proof of vaccination
Employers requiring proof of COVID-19 vaccination status for employees or patrons should follow the Department of Public Health’s Vaccine Record Guidelines and Standards:
- Verify records through a private and confidential process.
- Protect patrons from discrimination.
- Do not create barriers to essential services or restrict access based on a protected characteristic.
Help employees get vaccinated
Employers can assist their employees by:
- Coordinating vaccination events with provider partners
- Hosting a mobile or pop-up clinic
- Helping employees book appointments
- Providing employees with educational resources
Learn more in the Employer Vaccination Toolkit.
Financial help for businesses
Business owners who have been financially affected by COVID-19 can:
- Prevent layoffs and bring back furloughed or laid-off workers at reduced hours through the Work Sharing Program
- Workers can keep their job and get partial unemployment benefits to supplement reduced work hours. This helps you avoid hiring and training expenses.
- Get relief and extensions for filing state tax returns
- Claim federal employer tax credits:
- Apply for:
- COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loan (available through December 31, 2021)
- California Small Business COVID-19 Relief Grant Program (available between September 9 and 30, 2021)
- California Venues Grant Program (available between October 12 and 21, 2021)
- Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (available to live venues, museums, and movie theaters through August 20, 2021)
- Reopening your business and hiring employees
- COVID-19 information for California businesses
- COVID-19 relief options from the U.S. Small Business Administration
- California Labor and Workforce Development Agency and Department of Industrial Relations: Safer At Work
- California Labor and Workforce Development Agency: COVID-19 Resources for Employers and Workers
- California Labor Commissioner: COVID-19 Guidance and Resources
- California Department of Fair Employment and Housing: COVID-19 Resources and Guidance
- California Employment Development Department: COVID-19
- California Division of Occupational Safety and Health: Cal/OSHA COVID-19 Guidance and Resources
- California Division of Workers’ Compensation: COVID-19 Resources and Workers’ Compensation
- California Department of Tax and Fee Administration: COVID-19 State of Emergency
- Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development: Coronavirus 2019
- U.S. Internal Revenue Service: Employer Tax Credits
- U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission: COVID-19 and EEO laws
- U.S. Department of Labor: Paid Leave under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act