Social Workers Could Get Personal Protective Equipment From State In New Bill
Legislation authored by Sen. Brian W. Jones, R-Santee, to provide personal protective equipment to social workers was unanimously approved by the state Senate Wednesday and sent to the governor.
Specifically, Senate Bill 549 would guarantee that social workers — once declared essential workers during a state of emergency — would be given priority to receive health and safety equipment necessary to do their jobs.
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Despite being declared essential workers during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Jones says 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, the lawmaker said.
"As we found out during the COVID pandemic, social workers were not always given priority to receive PPE which negatively impacted their ability to do their jobs," he said. "Being able to get out in the field and meet with their clients — including the elderly, foster children and those with intellectual disabilities — is a vital part of a social worker's job. SB 549 will ensure that in the future social workers are not left out of the priority distribution of PPE."
The bill, co-sponsored by the Service Employees International Union California and the National Association of Social Workers, California Chapter, must be signed by the governor to become law.