This is all really hard. Our hearts are hurting for our families and our country. And, more than we need hand sanitizer in the time of COVID-19, we need access to paid sick days and paid family leave for everyone. Fortunately we have a start: Today is a historic day in the United States.
That’s because today, for the first time ever, thanks to the new Families First Coronavirus Response Act, our nation will have a *limited*, nation-wide, paid sick days and paid family leave law in place during the COVID-19 crisis.
The new law is a huge deal and we all helped make it happen. But it’s not enough. As many as 96 million working people, and expiring at the end of 2020. ***Check the link in our PS below to find more information about if you are covered or not under the new law.
We need to send a strong message to Congress to ensure this solution is included in the next coronavirus relief package. The Providing Americans Insured Days of Leave (PAID Leave) Act closes the loopholes in the Families First Act and makes both paid sick days and paid family and medical leave permanent because we know the need for these policies doesn’t begin and end with the coronavirus crisis.
Here’s the scoop: The Families First law, while an important step in the right direction, has some big gaps. For example, if you work for a company with more than 500 people, you’re not covered. If you need more than two weeks of leave to recover from COVID-19, or to care for a loved one who has to be isolated due to COVID-19, you aren’t covered. We are all in this together, this is not a time to leave anyone out.
That means families like Te’Jal’s in Ohio aren’t covered. Te’Jal shares:
“Because my employer has more than 500 employees, I won’t be able to access the emergency paid sick days and paid leave provisions in the Families First package so if either I or one of my family members gets coronavirus we won’t be covered. That worries me, because I already used my limited sick time when my son and I both got the flu earlier this year. I can’t afford to lose pay if one of us gets coronavirus. Many other families will fall through the cracks, too, including families who need paid leave for reasons other than school or child care closures.”
And this new law? It expires at the end of 2020 - even though we know that families need access to paid sick days and paid family and medical leave in normal times, not just during pandemics.
The PAID Leave Act is a strong, history-making fix because it would ensure that working people have access to 14 days of paid sick time and 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave to use during the COVID-19 crisis AND any future public health emergency. It also provides seven paid sick days that working people can earn annually to use even when there isn’t a public health emergency. And, it also creates a permanent paid family and medical leave insurance system to welcome a new child, care for loved ones, and address serious personal medical issues.
The COVID-19 pandemic has made a lot of things clear, including the need for paid family and medical leave and paid sick days. Being there for family is what matters most and NO ONE one should have to choose between the family they love and the job that they need. Not in times of pandemics and not in normal times either.
After you add your name to our letter to Congress now, please share this blog post with your family and friends so they can take action too. We’ve shown time and time again that the more of us who take action, the faster the fixes that we all need will be made.
Together we’re a powerful force for women and families, in good times and in bad.