Emergency Paid Sick Time Now!
Apr 30, 2020
Every worker in Massachusetts deserves PAID sick time – both during the current COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. EMPath is joining other organizations to advocate for Emergency Paid Sick Time legislation.
EMPath is joining other advocates in the Raise Up Massachusetts coalition to call for Emergency Paid Sick Time for all Massachusetts workers during the current crisis. This is one of our legislative priorities during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In order to ensure that all those who feel sick or may have been exposed to COVID-19 stay home and avoid exposing others to the virus, all workers must have the ability to miss work to care for themselves or their family, without losing the pay they need to make ends meet. In the face of the COVID-19 outbreak and the massive economic disruption it is creating, Massachusetts must urgently act to protect working people.
Many front-line workers are struggling economically and lack basic economic protections, including adequate paid sick time. The 40 hours of sick time that Massachusetts’ Earned Sick Time Law provides workers each year doesn’t meet the scale of this major public health crisis. Meanwhile, the federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act has big coverage gaps that leave millions of front-line workers without paid sick time, including workers at companies with more than 500 employees, and many employees of health care and residential facilities. The Center for American Progress estimates that at least 1.8 million workers in Massachusetts are not covered by the FFCRA’s paid sick time protections.
Low-wage workers are our first line of defense against COVID-19, but they are feeling the greatest economic impact of the outbreak. Healthcare and long-term care workers, janitorial workers, food service workers, child care workers, municipal workers, adjunct faculty, gig workers, and others on the front lines are critical to supporting our communities during the outbreak. Women, people of color, and immigrants are all overrepresented in frontline occupations and industries.
Massachusetts needs to pass Emergency Paid Sick Time legislation to ensure that all workers can take paid sick time during this crisis.
Raise Up MA’s Emergency Paid Sick Time legislation (HD.5039 – Rep. Donato / SD.2918 – Sen. Lewis) would provide 10 additional work days (80 hours) of job-protected paid sick time for immediate use during the COVID-19 outbreak. This Emergency Paid Sick Time would be available to employees not covered by the federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA)’s paid sick time provisions:
- Employees working for a private employer with more than 500 employees
- Employees working at health care or residential facilities that have the option to exempt themselves from the FFCRA.
Workers taking Emergency Paid Sick Time would be paid by their employers at their regular rate of pay, up to a maximum of $850/week. Employers would then be fully reimbursed by the state.
Emergency Paid Sick Time would be available, with no waiting period, for use:
- For a worker to care for themselves if they are diagnosed with COVID-19, experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and awaiting a diagnosis, quarantined or self-quarantined, or reasonably believes their health is at risk.
- For a worker to take care of a family member, including a domestic partner or someone with whom the worker resides, who is diagnosed with COVID-19, experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and awaiting a diagnosis, quarantined or self-quarantined, or reasonably believes their health is at risk.
On Wednesday, April 29, EMPath joined Raise Up MA’s Virtual Town Hall on this legislation. Over 100 advocates from all across the state joined a Zoom call to hear from frontline workers, policy experts, and the legislation’s lead sponsors, Rep. Donato and Sen. Lewis. Those who spoke shared how they have been affected by the current crisis and why it is critical that everyone have paid sick time. In a display of Zoom solidarity, advocates held up homemade signs and chanted their support.
EMPath urges lawmakers to move this legislation forward quickly!
- Click here to download Raise Up MA’s Fact Sheet
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This page was adapted from Raise Up Massachusetts’ website.