President-elect Biden’s COVID-19 relief bill includes key provisions championed by Senator Murray to extend and expand paid leave
Murray: “With a Democratic majority in the Senate and a Biden Administration only days away, I’m ready to get to work—not just to extend the paid leave policy we had on the books, but to expand it to include more workers—in particular workers of color and essential workers who are much more likely not to be offered paid leave at their jobs.”
(Washington, D.C.) – Today, Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), top Democrat on the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, praised President-elect Biden for including a re-enactment and expansion of paid leave provisions in his COVID-19 relief plan.
For years, Senator Murray has championed efforts in the Senate to ensure workers have access to paid leave. Throughout the pandemic, she has consistently highlighted how critical paid leave is not only to protect workers’ economic security and health and safety, but also to protect the public health and economic wellbeing of our country.
“Having been a working parent, I know firsthand what it’s like to have to figure out what to do if you, your kid, or a loved one gets sick when you’ve got to go to work—and I know that challenge has only gotten dramatically worse in a pandemic where it’s absolutely critical workers are able to stay home if needed, without losing their paycheck or their job. This crisis has made it clearer than ever that ensuring workers have the right to paid leave is critical to public health and to our economy as a whole.
“I was frustrated that despite evidence that paid leave reduced the spread of COVID and likely saved lives, Republicans refused to extend the bipartisan provisions Congress passed in March.
“So I am thrilled that paid leave is part of President-elect Biden’s vision for an immediate relief package to finally get families across the country the help they need. With a Democratic majority in the Senate and a Biden Administration only days away, I’m ready to get to work—not just to extend the paid leave policy we had on the books, but to expand it to include more workers—in particular workers of color and essential workers who are much more likely not to be offered paid leave at their jobs.
“This policy is a big part of what workers need during these tough months—and it will serve as a strong foundation to finally establish permanent policies on paid sick days and paid family and medical leave.”
After Congress passed paid leave provisions in March under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), Senator Murray pushed to expand those provisions to close loopholes that excluded millions of workers. Senator Murray also fought against efforts by the Trump Administration to undermine the provisions to further reduce the number of workers who could access paid leave.
In March, Senator Murray, Congresswoman DeLauro, and Senator Gillibrand introduced the PAID Leave Act to provide paid sick days and paid family and medical leave immediately to workers in light of the coronavirus crisis, and in preparation for future public health emergencies. Building off of Senator Murray’s Healthy Families Act—which she has introduced every Congress since 2004—and Senator Gillibrand’s FAMILY Act, the legislation would also make seven days of paid sick leave and 12 weeks of family leave permanent for all workers.