TIME’S UP: “Congress took a step forward on paid leave, but more action is urgently needed”
Changing Laws & Policy, Equity, Federal Policy
Today, the Senate voted to pass the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, which passed the House on Friday, and is headed to the president for his signature. If signed into law, the bill would provide critical support to workers by granting 10 paid sick days and 12 weeks’ paid leave for full-time employees who are sick with COVID-19 or providing childcare.
Tina Tchen, president and CEO of TIME’S UP Now, responded with the following statement:
“Congress has taken an important step forward by sending emergency paid sick days legislation to President Trump as part of its response to the COVID-19 outbreak – but more action is required urgently.
“According to estimates, millions of workers – including many health-care providers and people who need to stay home because of a family member’s exposure to the virus – would not be guaranteed any paid sick days under this bill because they work for a large company or their employer could seek an exemption. This has serious consequences for all of us, but especially for more vulnerable workers, including women, women of color, and workers in low-paid jobs. These workers are often the ones left without access to any paid leave while also shouldering some of the greatest risks and responsibilities during this outbreak.
“Put simply: this legislation falls far short of what is needed to ensure that no one has to ignore public health guidance and risk infecting others simply because their employer does not offer paid sick days or paid leave. Everyone – at all times, but especially in the midst of this unprecedented public health crisis – needs paid sick days and paid leave, no matter the size of their employer.
“While we encourage President Trump to sign this emergency legislation without delay, we also call upon federal, state, and local leaders, along with business leaders, to keep working to close the gap that leaves some 32 million workers without paid sick days today – and to make these policies permanent. It’s time for the United States to follow the lead of nearly every other industrialized country in the world and make paid sick days and paid leave a reality for all workers who need it – period.”
ADDITIONAL BACKGROUND ABOUT PAID SICK LEAVE
- Some 32 million U.S. workers – including nurses, caregivers, and those in food service who work directly with the public – do not have access to a single paid sick day.
- More than half of Latinas and one-third of black women do not have the option to take paid time off when they are sick.
- Seven out of 10 workers in low-paid jobs do not have paid sick days.
- Women are 80 percent of the healthcare workforce in general and nearly 80 percent of the public health workforce, as well.
- Women are 60 percent of caretakers in general and black caregivers spent an average of 28.5 more hours per month caregiving than white caregivers.
TIME'S UP Now
TIME’S UP™ Now is the nonpartisan and not-for-profit advocacy and political arm of TIME’S UP. We advocate for safe, fair, and dignified work for all in the public and private sectors, calling for an end to harassment and other related forms of discrimination on the job. And we fight to rebuild the systems that have taken away women’s power for far too long. TIME’S UP Now is a 501(c)(4) social welfare organization.