In March, Congress passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), a new federal law providing emergency paid leave to covered workers for certain COVID-related purposes. Last month, in response to an action by the New York Attorney General’s office, the Southern District of New York issued a decision striking down several elements of the US Department of Labor’s regulations issued under the FFCRA. Recently, the Department of Labor issued new revised regulations, which make several changes in response to the court’s decision, along with corresponding updates to the frequently asked questions. These new regulations will become effective immediately upon their formal publication in the Federal Register, expected to occur on February 16.
As the pandemic continues to threaten the lives and livelihoods of workers across the country, we must take action. Congress must pass the HEROES Act and enact a strong federal paid leave program for all workers and their families. So before the August recess, ask your U.S. Senators to pass the HEROES Act—and spread the word! As proud leading members of the Paid Leave for All campaign, we urge everyone to take action this week so we can work together towards paid leave for all working people.
Our new publication, Families First: Workers' Voices During the Pandemic, features the narratives of dozens of workers we've spoken with through our free legal helpline who are struggling to protect their health, care for their families, and stay afloat economically during these unprecedented times. Featured within are stories from workers across 26 states, many of whom have been unable to access emergency leave under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) due to significant loopholes in the law, and are left with little recourse to avoid jeopardizing their health or their economic security.
Building on changes to paid family and medical leave that many states saw beginning in January 2020, July marks new developments as well. Beginning July 1, workers in Washington, D.C. will be able to take paid family and medical leave benefits under the District’s universal paid leave program—a much needed development as the country continues to battle with COVID-19. Also beginning July 1, workers in California will be able to take up to 8 weeks of family leave benefits in a 12-month period. Similarly, workers in New Jersey will see an increase in the amount of family leave benefits that they’ll be able to take.
Today, we honor the millions of men in this country who care for children, and the millions more who provide care for an older family member or sick loved one. For dads and caregivers like Jeffrey everywhere, now more than ever, knowing their rights is critical. For example, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act covers many workers with paid sick leave to care for themselves and their loved ones when affected by the coronavirus, as well as paid family leave for use when a child’s school or place of care is closed.
The FFCRA's groundbreaking paid leave provisions provide essential protections to millions of workers, but a combination of statutory and regulatory exceptions potentially leave out as many as 106 million employees nationwide. For precarious workers who too often fall through the cracks of workplace protections, like temporary, part-time, and domestic workers, the law represents an unprecedented breakthrough with some significant and challenging gaps.
Especially as governments lift stay at home orders, it is important for workers to know their rights. We have released a series of videos from our legal experts to help workers understand their rights when affected by COVID-19, so they will be empowered to exercise them. Please join us in sharing these videos with the hashtag #JusticeForWorkers.
In March, Congress passed a new law called the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). Among other emergency protections, the law creates new tax credits for freelancers and other self-employed people to compensate for lost income when you cannot work for certain coronavirus-related reasons. Here’s what freelancers need to know about how to access these credits.
A Better Balance applauds the release of the HEROES Act, a bold proposal to expand and build upon the groundbreaking paid leave protections of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. We thank Speaker Pelosi and champions in the House for their leadership on this crucial issue.
American families are structurally complex and diverse, making a family definition that allows workers to care for a broad range of their loved ones – and not just those to whom they are biologically or legally related – a crucial piece of any effective paid leave policy. The need for an inclusive family definition is increasingly relevant now as the Coronavirus pandemic continues and more states have statewide or partial stay-at-home orders in place and social distancing is encouraged.