NLIHC joined two sign-on letters urging Congress to take immediate action to support low-income workers during the coronavirus outbreak (now a pandemic). Interim guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that employees with potential coronavirus symptoms remain at home until symptoms subside, and COVID-19-infected individuals are instructed to self-quarantine for two weeks to avoid spreading the virus to others. These recommendations pose a challenge to low-income employees, who often work hourly jobs that do not offer paid sick leave. Taking time off of work due to an illness or to care for a sick loved one can pose serious challenges for low-income households’ ability to afford necessities like medicine, food, and rent.
The two sign-on letters aim to address this challenge by giving low-income workers the flexibility they need to take care of themselves or their loved ones while maintaining economic stability. The first letter, led by the National Partnership for Women and Families’ Paid Leave for All Campaign, expresses support for the “Paid Sick Days for Public Health Emergencies and Personal and Family Care Act” (H.R.6150/S.3415) and urges members of Congress to co-sponsor the bill. Introduced by Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) and Representative Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), the legislation would guarantee working people fourteen days of paid sick leave during any public health emergency, and provide up to seven paid sick and safe days annually to recover from an illness, visit a doctor, care for a sick loved one, or seek help related to domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking.
The second letter, led by the National Women’s Law Center and the National Employment Law Project, shares recommendations with Congress to strengthen the unemployment insurance system and ensure households facing coronavirus-related job loss can access unemployment insurance quickly. The recommendations would also help workers who need to quit their jobs to assume caregiving responsibilities get coverage under unemployment insurance by expanding the definition of “good cause quit” to include caring for a sick family member or caring for their children in the event of school closures.
Read additional information about Senate and House Democrats’ proposals to address the health and economic needs of individuals and communities impacted by the coronavirus in a separate article in this Memo to Members and Partners.
Read the letter from the Paid Leave for All Campaign at: https://bit.ly/2TGJ30u
Read the letter from the National Women’s Law Center and the National Employment Law Project at: https://bit.ly/2Q89KsR
Learn more about the “Paid Sick Days for Public Health Emergencies and Personal and Family Care Act” at: https://bit.ly/2wMAbxt
Learn more about the “Families First Coronavirus Response Act” at: https://bit.ly/2WeoE4y
Read Diane’s full statement at: https://bit.ly/2Q8Liru