New Coronavirus Bill Could Provide Pay for Those Sick Or Staying Home with Kids

New Coronavirus Bill Could Provide Pay for Those Sick Or Staying Home with Kids


photo credit: Deliris // Shutterstock

Being that some people are sick or are asymptomatic but have tested positive for coronavirus and must stay home, the government is looking to pass a bill that would still allow these people to get paid. Along with anyone who must stay home with children due to schools being closed. But some kinks are still being worked out in the recently revised legislation.

The Senate will vote on Wednesday to pass the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, which has already passed in the House.

The bill would provide many workers with up to two weeks of paid sick leave if they are being tested or treated for coronavirus. Even those who have been told by a doctors to stay home because of exposure or symptoms. Under the revised bill, however, those payments would be capped at $511 a day, roughly what someone making $133,000 earns annually. The original measure called for workers to receive their full pay but limited federal reimbursement to employers to that amount.

People with family members affected by coronavirus or have children who are home due to school closings would receive up to two-thirds of their pay for up to another 10 weeks, limited to $200 a day.

The revised legislation also specifies that employers could exclude health care workers and emergency responders from either paid leave provision, amid fears of staffing shortages among medical providers. The issue wit that: that leaves open the possibility that some health care workers with coronavirus might not get paid.

Another issue comes to the small businesses, who may not have the funds to provide sick and family leave to workers. CNN states that, under the legislation, small businesses with fewer than 50 employees could apply for financial hardship waivers from the leave provisions affecting workers whose children’s schools have closed.

The vast majority of the 35 million workers at these small firms currently lack paid family leave, said Sarah Jane Glynn, senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, a left-leaning think tank.

According to CNN, as part of a compromise with the White House last week, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi agreed that the bill would not apply to the roughly 60 million Americans who work at companies with 500 employees or more — though 89% of these folks already receive paid sick leave.
That still leaves about 6.7 million people at these big firms without access to either federal or corporate paid sick time off, Glynn said. Even those who receive the benefit typically get only seven or eight days, depending on their tenure at the job, she said. That’s less than the 14 days of isolation that health officials recommend for those infected with or exposed to coronavirus.
The US is one of the few developed nations without national standards on paid sick leave, though a dozen states, the District of Columbia and several municipalities have mandated it. Also, five states have paid family leave programs in place now.
Nearly a quarter of workers don’t have paid sick leave, according to federal data. And among those in the leisure and hospitality industries, who often deal with the public at places like restaurants and hotels, fewer than half can take a paid sick day.
Among the lowest-paid employees, only half have access to sick leave. And many gig economy workers, such as those who drive for Uber and Lyft and who deliver food, are considered independent contractors and don’t receive benefits such as sick days.


Written by Clarke Jones

Spurce: CNN