Legislation authored by Senator Brian W. Jones (R-Santee) to provide personal protective equipment (PPE) to social workers was unanimously approved by the Assembly Labor and Employment Committee.
Specifically, Jones’s Senate Bill 549 will guarantee that social workers, once declared essential workers during a state of emergency, will be given priority to receive health and safety equipment necessary to do their jobs. Despite being declared essential workers during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, most social workers have not been prioritized to receive health and safety equipment. As a result, they have often had to work from home online or in-person in unsafe conditions.
“During the COVID pandemic social workers were not always given priority to receive PPE, which negatively impacted their ability to do their jobs,” stated Senator Brian Jones. “Getting out in the field and meeting with their clients – including the elderly, foster children, and those with intellectual disabilities – are a vital part of a social worker’s job. SB 549 will help ensure that in the future social workers are not overlooked.”
The Service Employees International Union California (SEIU California) and the National Association of Social Workers, California Chapter (NASW-CA) are co-sponsoring SB 549.
SB 549 goes next to the Assembly Human Services Committee for hearing.