Measures Must Be Put in Place To Protect Workers of Large Employers with Paid Leave

Congress recently passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. This new law is a critical first step in making sure working people facing severe health and financial risks receive the assistance they need.

One of the provisions in the new law implements emergency paid sick leave for employees, which provides up to 80 hours of paid sick leave at their regular pay for quarantine, treatment, or care of a family member related to the coronavirus. Employers who provide this leave receive tax credits. 

However, the law exempts large employers with over 500 employees in the U.S.

We understand the intent of this exemption; large companies should not benefit from a federal tax incentive from something that they should provide with or without a global pandemic. 

Many workers have access to some paid sick leave, but it’s not enough to stay home for the fourteen days that are recommended to prevent infecting others.

Since the passage of the federal law, our members who work at large employers are reporting that these employers are NOT consistently providing paid leave equal to or exceeding 80 hours for coronavirus quarantine, isolation, and recovery.

To stop the spread of this virus and protect our members, District Directors are sending letters to state legislatures urging them to use their authority and fix this problem in state law:

  • Require that all employers, regardless of size, provide 80 hours of paid sick leave to full-time employees, consistent with the requirements for smaller firms in the federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act. Companies with fewer than 500 employees must comply under federal law and have access to a tax credit to help with those costs. 
  • Ensure that this requirement goes above and beyond the existing sick leave provisions already existing in our contracts. 
  • Protect employees by prohibiting employers from forcing workers to use other paid leave before using this leave, find replacements for their shifts if they are sick, and endure retaliation because they are using the leave.

We know our states are working hard to protect public health and ensure that the spread of the Covid-19 virus is slowed and eventually stopped. It’s our goal too.

But not all companies are acting responsibly and guaranteeing this leave to workers.

States must protect public health and fill in the gaps in the federal law on ensuring that all employees have access to coronavirus-related paid sick days.

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