Moms Leader: As Impact of Coronavirus Grows, Congress Has No Higher Priority than to Pass the Paid Sick Days for Public Health Emergencies and Personal and Family Care Act
“America’s moms are thrilled that U.S. Sen. Patty Murray and Rep. Rosa DeLauro introduced emergency paid sick days legislation last week. The Paid Sick Days for Public Health Emergencies and Personal and Family Care Act is an urgently needed bill that would allow every employee to take up to seven paid sick days per year, with the option to add another 14 days for those dealing with COVID-19 or a future public health emergency. It includes time for quarantine, treatment and isolation if needed, and for caregiving if a loved one is ill. It also covers lost income in the event of workplace or school closings.
“We urge Congress to act quickly to pass this bill, and President Trump to immediately sign it when Congress does. Lawmakers also should find ways to support small business owners who may be hit hard when employees need extended time away from work if they or a family member is quarantined.
“Protecting health must become a higher priority in this country. We cannot improve public health and stop the spread of contagion if working people cannot stay home when they are sick, or keep a sick child home from school, because doing so means they risk their paychecks or even their jobs. We simply must do better.”
--Statement of Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner, executive director and CEO, MomsRising
“We don’t just need access to paid sick days during crises; we need them during normal times too. In addition to ensuring people who work have access to paid sick days during public health emergencies, the Paid Sick Days for Public Health Emergencies and Personal and Family Care Act would allow those at larger employers (with 15 or more employees) to gradually earn up to 7 days of paid sick time, while allowing those at smaller employers to gradually earn up to 7 days of unpaid sick time, thus allowing all workers to earn sick days whether there’s an emergency or not.
“Right now in America, more than one quarter of private sector workers – and 7 in 10 of the lowest income workers – cannot earn even a single paid sick day. In total, more than 32 million U.S. workers are without this basic protection. Latinx and Black workers are disproportionately likely to be without paid sick days, as are those who work at child care programs, nursing homes and restaurants. Workers in these occupations are more likely to be exposed to and therefore spread contagious illnesses when they are forced to work sick.
“Whether we’re talking about the flu, coronavirus or something else, the best advice from public health experts--to stay home while sick--will not help if people are unable to follow it. Lawmakers should pass the Paid Sick Days for Public Health Emergencies and Personal and Family Care Act and the Healthy Families Act now.”
-- Statement of Ruth Martin, senior vice president, Workplace Justice Campaigns, MomsRising