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As Coronavirus Cases Expand Across U.S., Kaine Cosponsors Emergency Paid Sick Days Legislation

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Tim Kaine, a member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, cosponsored emergency paid sick leave legislation to provide paid sick days immediately to workers in light of the coronavirus crisis and in preparation for future public health emergencies. The legislation was introduced by Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) and Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (CT-03).

“A public health crisis like the coronavirus underscores the urgent need to pass paid sick leave legislation. Workers deserve the flexibility to care for their health without fear of losing a paycheck,” said Kaine. “This legislation will help ensure that no American has to put their health – and the health of others in their community – at risk to keep their job.”   

This emergency paid sick days legislation requires all employers to allow workers to accrue seven days of paid sick leave and to provide an additional 14 days available immediately in the event of any public health emergency, including the current coronavirus crisis. Twenty-seven percent of private sector workers don’t have paid sick days and will go without pay if they can’t show up at work.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines 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 legislation won’t just ensure workers can take care of themselves and their families, it will also ensure that workers can help keep their communities safe by not coming to work when they are contagious.

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 days of paid sick leave, available immediately at the beginning of a public health emergency, including the current coronavirus crisis.
  • Ensure paid sick leave covers days when your child’s school is closed due to a public health emergency, when your employer is closed due to a public health emergency, or if you or a 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).