CWA Urges Congress to Pass P.A.I.D. Leave Act

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

The Communications Workers of America (CWA) is urging the House and Senate to immediately pass a bill introduced today by Senator Murray, Senator Gillibrand, and Rep. DeLauro, the P.A.I.D. Leave Act, a comprehensive bill to provide all workers with paid sick days and paid family and medical leave, in response to the current coronavirus crisis, and to have these benefits in place for workers and families to deal with future crises and life events.   

“Nobody should be forced to go to work while sick or capable of spreading a disease during a pandemic. Congress must immediately act to give all workers paid sick days and paid family and medical leave to stop the spread of COVID-19,” said CWA Senior Director for Government Affairs and Policy Shane Larson. “Working people across the country and across the world are looking to their elected officials to use their power and provide leadership in this time of crisis. Our legislators have an opportunity to act now and save lives by passing this bill.”

The P.A.I.D. Leave Act would:

  • To respond aggressively to the current coronavirus crisis, require the federal government to cover the cost of 7-days of accrued paid sick leave, 14 paid emergency sick days, and the 12-weeks of paid emergency leave outlined below until January 2022. Under the bill, employers will submit documentation to the Department of Labor (DOL) that they provided paid sick days or paid leave. DOL is required to certify the documentation within 5 days as being true and tell the Treasury Department to issue a check to the employer within 2 days, fully reimbursing them. 

  • Require all employers to allow employees and independent contractors to accrue up to 7 days of paid sick leave at 100% of wages. 

  • Require all employers to provide a separate amount of 14 days of paid sick leave at 100% of wages that is immediately available at the beginning of any public health emergency (including in the current crisis upon passage of the bill). Under the bill, a qualifying Public Health Emergency could be declared at the federal level or the state or local level and still trigger the additional 14 paid sick days. 

  • Require all employers to provide 12-weeks of paid leave at 2/3 of wages during a public health emergency. 

  • Expand the list of qualifying events for the use of paid sick days and paid leave to include:

    • If your child’s school is closed for a public health emergency

    • If your employer is closed for a public health emergency

    • If you or a family member needing care are quarantined or isolated because of exposure linked to a public health emergency

    • The list of qualifying events still includes the original events, being: for your own medical issue, for going to the doctor, for a family member’s medical issue or doctor’s visit or need for care, for attending a child’s school meeting on medical issue, and for addressing domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking.

  • The requirements in the bill would extend to all employers, regardless of size, and would also cover independent contractors.

  • To ensure supports for workers and families going forward, beginning on January 1, 2022, the cost of the 7-days of accrued sick leave will be paid for by employers; the 14 days of additional emergency paid sick leave will continue to be reimbursed by the federal government in future public health emergency. 

  • Beginning on January 1, 2022, S. 463, the Family and Medical Insurance Leave (FAMILY) Act will become effective. Employers will be required to provide up to 12 weeks of partial income when they take time for their own serious health conditions, including pregnancy and childbirth recovery; the serious health condition of a child; and/or for particular military caregiving and leave purposes. Workers will earn 66 percent of their monthly wages, up to $4,000. Paid Family and Medical Leave is funded by employee and employer payroll contributions.

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