Employers will no longer be required to offer two weeks of paid leave for workers who fall ill with Covid-19, or up to 12 weeks of family leave for people who are unable to work due to child care needs, according to the legislation of the $ 900 billion bailout package approved by Congress this week.
The extension of the paid leave mandate, first established in the March Family Coronavirus Response Act, was blocked in the last stimulus deal following opposition from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. BuzzFeed News.
The FFCRA went into effect in April and provides two weeks of full payment for some workers who fall ill with the coronavirus or are referred by a health authority to quarantine. It also offers two weeks of partly paid leave for an employee to care for a sick family member or child while schools and childcare are closed. The law also provides an extra 10 weeks of partly paid family leave to care for a child while schools and day care centers are closed.
The offer is limited, however, and does not apply to companies with 500 or more workers – who employ more than half of all workers – or small companies with less than 50 people who may cite difficulties as an exemption. Some health care providers and emergency responders are not eligible for paid leave.
The FFCRA provisions are due to expire on December 31, with no federal extension.
The latest stimulus project does not extend sick or family leave mandates, ending next week, which requires qualified employers to provide paid leave to eligible employees. However, as drafted, the bill remains a refundable tax credit to subsidize the cost of companies if they grant paid leave by March 31, 2021. This means that on January 1, 2021, the federal government will continue to pay employers to offer paid leave to workers, but it is up to employers to offer it in the first place.
The move could impact 87 million workers eligible for sick leave and family leave paid under the law.
Paid leave reduced the spread of Covid-19, supported by working parents
The US is the only one among 22 wealthy nations in the world that does not have a federal paid sick leave authorization, according to data from the The Center for Economic Policy and Research.
Some states, cities and employers offer their own forms of paid sick leave, but without a national standard, about 24% of U.S. civilian workers, or 33.6 million people, do not have a safety net, according to Pew Research Center.
Low-income and part-time workers are less likely to have access to paid sick leave and are therefore more likely to have to choose between staying home if they are sick and earning a crucial salary to cover essential expenses.
But paying people to stay at home can minimize the spread of disease. An academic study in October found that paying for emergency medical leave helped level the curve in the U.S. and prevented up to 15,000 cases of the virus a day. In addition, it found that while the FFCRA was projected to cost $ 105 billion over the year, the companies had claimed only $ 1.3 billion in tax credits at the end of October.
For parents, the lack of paid family leave can have lasting consequences, as continuous outbreaks of the virus close schools and daycare centers this winter. At the beginning of the new school year, 73% of parents planned to make major changes in their professional lives to accommodate the lack of daycare centers, according to an August Care.com survey of 1,000 parents with children under the age of 15. 15% of these parents considered leaving the job market entirely.
The paid leave policy has been an obstacle in the months of Congressional negotiations to send financial relief to Americans during the pandemic.
According to BuzzFeed News, Mayor Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., Delayed the deal on Saturday because the text did not include an extension of the paid leave mandate; on Sunday, she was content with including only the tax credit.
President Donald Trump was expected to sign the bill quickly this week to prevent government shutdown and the expiration of a vital pandemic for millions of Americans. In a tweet on Tuesday night, however, he considered Covid’s aid project inadequate and demanded that Congress increase stimulus payments from $ 600 per person to $ 2,000 per person, among other changes to the aid agreement. .
Shortly after, Pelosi responded accordingly with your $ 2,000 direct payment request. House Democrats, who hold a majority in the chamber, will try to see if they can approve a measure to increase unanimous consent payments on Thursday, Christmas Eve, according to a Democratic aide, as reported by CNBC.
Developments are underway.
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