Lawmakers: “Without action from Congress, paid sick days and family leave for an estimated twenty-two million American workers will expire at the end of the year, forcing around one-fifth of our workforce to return to choosing between their health and their paycheck as cases are spiking and thousands are dying each day”
(Washington, D.C.) – With paid sick days and family leave for an estimated 22 million workers set to expire on December 31st, Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), ranking member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), Chair of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Senate lead on the FAMILY Act, urged their colleagues to extend the bipartisan paid sick days and family leave provisions they successfully fought to secure in March under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) in the next COVID relief package.
A recent study from Health Affairs showed that the provisions reduced COVID infections during the period from mid-March to mid-May by about 15,000 per day across the country, which likely saved lives. Additionally, a separate analysis found the policy cost far less than what was originally projected.
“In March, Republicans finally acknowledged the public health necessity of ensuring workers can stay home if they are sick without losing a paycheck, and joined Democrats in passing paid leave for millions of workers.
“The evidence is clear that this bipartisan paid leave policy protected workers, reduced the spread of the virus, and likely saved lives—all while costing far less than was originally expected.
“Without action from Congress, paid sick days and family leave for twenty-two million American workers will expire at the end of the year, forcing one-fifth of workers to return to choosing between their health and their paycheck as COVID-19 infections skyrocket and deaths have reached thousands per day.
“There is absolutely no reason, and no excuse, for failing to extend the lifesaving and bipartisan paid leave policy that is already on the books. Anything less would be terrible policy, a moral stain, and a catastrophe each of us will fight to prevent.”
Senator Murray, Congresswoman DeLauro, and Senator Gillibrand are champions of paid sick days and paid family and medical leave, specifically the Healthy Families Act and the FAMILY Act. Throughout the pandemic, the lawmakers have continually highlighted how important these policies are not only to protect workers’ economic security and health and safety, but also to protect the public health and economic wellbeing of our country. In March, the lawmakers introduced the PAID Leave Act to provide all employees 14 emergency paid sick days and 12 weeks emergency paid family and medical leave.