Senator’s Bill Would Require Employers to Provide 14 Paid Sick Days to be Used during a Public Health Crisis, like Coronavirus
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) hosted a news conference call as he introduces new, emergency paid sick days legislation building off the Healthy Families Act (HFA), to provide paid sick days immediately to Ohio workers in light of the coronavirus crisis, and in preparation for future public health emergencies. On Monday, Gov. DeWine confirmed the first cases of Coronavirus in Ohio.
This legislation, the Paid Sick Days for Public Health Emergencies and Personal Family Care Act, requires all employers to allow workers to accrue seven days of paid sick days and to provide an additional 14 days available immediately in the event of any public health emergency, including the current coronavirus crisis.
“Our office has been getting calls from workers asking us, what do I do if I come down with something, and I have to choose between going to work while I’m sick, or losing a paycheck or losing my job? It’s unacceptable that millions of people are faced with that impossible choice. It’s a Dignity of Work issue, and it’s a public safety issue,” said Brown.
Guidelines published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advise people to stay home if they are sick. However, for many workers—including many restaurant workers, truck drivers, people in the service industry, and more—staying home from work means losing a paycheck or losing your job.
This bill builds on Brown’s Healthy Families Act, which would allow workers to earn up to seven sick days a year to care for a family member and to address personal medical needs. The continued community transmission of coronavirus has highlighted the urgent need to pass paid sick days legislation immediately.
Brown was joined on the call by Holly Hankinson, Advocacy Director of the Women’s Fund of the Greater Cincinnati Foundation, to discuss the importance of paid sick days for Ohio workers.
“This bill addresses the needs of our most vulnerable workers, both in the face of the current public health emergency and in the future, recognizing that illness and caretaking matters impact all of us, and shouldn’t risk a family’s economic stability,” said Ms. Hankinson.
Specifically, this bill would:
- Require all employers to allow workers to gradually earn seven days of paid sick leave.
- Require all employers to provide an additional 14 paid sick days, available immediately at the beginning of a public health emergency, including the current coronavirus crisis.
- Ensure paid sick leave covers days when a child’s school is closed due to a public health emergency, when an employer is closed due to a public health emergency, or if an individual or family member is quarantined or isolated due to a public health emergency.
The legislation has been endorsed by: National Partnership for Women and Families, National Employment Law Project (NELP), Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP), Center for American Progress (CAP).