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

There are several benefits available to workers impacted by COVID-19. You may be able to take advantage of: 

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:

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.

More help

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:
  • 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:

Find details about the vaccine requirement for healthcare workers in correctional facilities and detention centers:

For information about healthcare worker protections in high-risk settings, check:

State offices

State employees working on-site must verify that they are fully vaccinated, or get tested regularly for COVID-19 and wear a mask.

K-12 schools

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:

More information:


Stay informed