March 17, 2020

Paid Leave Act: Gillibrand, Murray, Delauro Introduce Updated Emergency Paid Leave Bill In Response To Worsening Coronavirus Crisis

PAID Leave Act Builds On Bipartisan Agreement In The Families First Coronavirus Response Act To Ensure U.S. Has A Federal Paid Leave Policy; Under New PAID Leave Act, All Workers Will Be Allowed To Take Advantage Of 14 Paid Sick Days And 12 Weeks Of Paid Family And Medical Leave; Bill Will Fully And Quickly Reimburse Employers For All Paid Sick Days And Paid Leave In 2020 And 2021

Today, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Senate lead on the FAMILY Act, Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), ranking member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, and Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), Chair of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education announced plans to introduce the PAID Leave Act (Providing Americans Insured Days of Leave Act). The PAID Leave Act is a comprehensive emergency paid sick days and paid family and medical leave bill—fully funded by the federal government during this emergency—to provide additional support to workers and businesses during the coronavirus outbreak and future public health emergencies. 

“Across New York State and the country, schools are closing and businesses are shutting their doors as we face this unprecedented crisis. This public health emergency has exposed the weakness of our system—we are not doing nearly enough to help working families handle medical emergencies and the financial burdens they cause. The PAID Leave Act ensures that every worker in America has full paid sick and family leave, strengthens their financial footing, and paves the way for America’s first universal paid family leave policy. Congress must pass this legislation immediate and give workers the security and confidence needed to confront this crisis,” said Senator Gillibrand.

I’m hearing from workers who urgently need to have the ability to stay home without losing a pay check or their job, and I’m hearing from businesses in Washington state and nationwide who care deeply about seeing their employees through these hard times but just don’t have the cash flow,” said Senator Murray. “Our legislation will ensure all workers have paid sick leave while protecting small businesses that are suddenly finding themselves struggling. This is good for workers, businesses, and critically, it will help slow the spread of the coronavirus. We should get it to the President’s desk as quickly as possible.”

“There has never been a more urgent need to expand paid sick days and paid leave to the workers of this country,” said Congresswoman DeLauro. “As businesses and schools shut down to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, people are fearful of how they and their families are going to make ends meet. Congress has the power to change that—and we should. I am disappointed that, in Congress’s latest coronavirus response bill, the administration has left out tens of millions of workers from access to meaningful paid sick days or longer term paid leave, including our frontline health care workers and first responders. Through this new legislation, we can provide immediate economic security so no one falls through the cracks.”

Because small businesses across the country continue to feel the effects of the public health crisis, the bill will fully and quickly reimburse employers for all paid sick days and paid leave in 2020 and 2021. In order to ensure that business do no need to wait for tax credits, the bill will only require employers to provide documentation to the Department of Labor (DOL) to demonstrate they paid out sick days or leave in order to receive reimbursement. After 2021, the bill would allow workers to accrue seven paid sick days and establish a self-sustaining family and medical leave insurance program for all workers.

For all employees and independent contractors, this bill would:

  • Provide 14 emergency paid sick days in the event of a public health emergency, including the current coronavirus crisis, reimbursed in full by the federal government.
  • Provide workers with 12 weeks emergency paid family and medical leave, fully reimbursed by the federal government.
  • Permanently ensure workers can accrue 7 paid sick days.
  • Permanently enact a paid family and medical leave program (Senator Gillibrand’s and Representative DeLauro’s FAMILY Act).

The bill is being endorsed by: National Partnership for Women and Families, CLASP, Family Values at Work, Paid Leave for All, Center for American Progress, American Federation of Teachers.

Senator Gillibrand is the foremost champion for paid family and medical leave in the U.S. Senate. In 2013, Senator Gillibrand and Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro introduced the FAMILY Act to create America’s first universal paid family leave program. The FAMILY Act would allow up to three months of paid leave at 66% of one’s income to take sick leave, care for a loved one, or care for a newborn.

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