Photo Courtesy of Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office
Under the new PAID Leave Act, workers would be allowed to take advantage of 14 emergency paid sick days and 12 weeks’ emergency paid family and medical leave, fully reimbursed by the federal government.
By Forum Staff
Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) this week pushed for the quick approval of a comprehensive emergency paid sick days and paid family and medical leave bill—fully funded by the federal government—to provide additional support to workers and businesses during the coronavirus outbreak and future public health crises.
For all employees and independent contractors, the Providing Americans Insured Days of Leave Act would: provide 14 emergency paid sick days in the event of a public health emergency, including the current coronavirus pandemic, 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 seven paid sick days; and permanently enact a paid family and medical leave program, such as the one established in the Family And Medical Insurance Leave Act.
In 2013, Gillibrand and U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.), chairwoman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education introduced the FAMILY Act to create America’s first universal paid family leave program. According to Gillibrand, the measure would allow up to three months of paid leave at 66 percent of one’s income to take sick leave, care for a loved one, or care for a newborn.
New York’s junior senator also noted on Tuesday that because small businesses across the country continue to feel the effects of the public health crisis, the PAID Leave Act will “fully and quickly” reimburse employers for all paid sick days and paid leave in 2020 and 2021. In order to ensure that businesses would not need to wait for tax credits, the bill will only require employers to provide documentation to the U.S. Department of Labor to demonstrate they paid out sick days or leave in order to receive reimbursement, Gillibrand added.
“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 senator said. “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.”
DeLauro and Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), ranking member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, joined Gillibrand in announcing the PAID Leave Act.
“I’m hearing from workers who urgently need to have the ability to stay home without losing a paycheck or their job, and I’m hearing from businesses in Washington State and nationwide that care deeply about seeing their employees through these hard times but just don’t have the cash flow,” Murray said. “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.”