Especially amidst the COVID-19 public health crisis, which is disproportionately impacting Black Americans, it’s more important than ever we address the longstanding, structural disparities in our healthcare system and our policies. As data from past epidemics shows, pregnant women may face additional barriers to receiving adequate care as resources are stretched thin, which could worsen existing inequities for Black mothers and babies.
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.
On April 7, 2020, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors unanimously passed an emergency ordinance that will require private employers with 500 or more employees to provide public health emergency leave during the COVID-19 pandemic. We were proud to work with Supervisor Gordon Mar and partners in California, including Jobs with Justice San Francisco and Legal Aid at Work, on this important measure, and we congratulate them on the ordinance’s successful passage. Once the Mayor signs the bill, as expected, it will take effect.
New York State has passed a crucial law creating a permanent right to paid sick leave for millions of New Yorkers. We applaud Governor Cuomo and the New York State Legislature for their leadership and for recognizing the need to prioritize the health and economic security of all New Yorkers amidst this crisis, and beyond. We are proud to have been a leader in the efforts to pass this law, just as we have been in New York City, Westchester County, and across the country.
Workers everywhere are facing unprecedented threats to their economic security and their ability to care for themselves and their loved ones in these troubling times. That’s why we launched our COVID-19 Emergency Paid Sick and Family Leave Legal Fund—so that we can support working families across the country who urgently need legal assistance and strong legal protections amidst this crisis.
The COVID-19 public health crisis underscores the need to ensure that women—who are the sole or co-breadwinner in most American households—are not facing additional hurdles to economic security. The wage gap contributes to higher rates of poverty for women and families, especially women of color and their families. At a time when many parents—especially single mothers—face precarious employment and the need to care for children and loved ones, it is crucial that we ensure women and families have access to needed resources and support.
We congratulate Congress for passing the Families First Coronavirus Response Act and the CARES Act, and taking important steps to address the needs of our workforce during this crisis. These laws for the first time provide a national right to paid sick leave for many workers, and expand the right to unemployment insurance to many more workers who were previously excluded.
Although the COVID-19 coronavirus has been designated as a pandemic by the World Health Organization, you still have rights under the ADA. The EEOC has provided guidance consistent with these workplace protections and rules. This publication, which was written during the prior H1N1 outbreak, is still relevant today and identifies established ADA and Rehabilitation Act (which applies to federal employees) principles to answer questions frequently asked about the workplace during a pandemic.
The PAID Leave Act, introduced by Rep. DeLauro, Sen. Gillibrand, and Sen. Murray, is a comprehensive emergency paid sick time and paid family and medical leave bill that builds on the protections in the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. As COVID-19 spreads and businesses and schools close down nationwide, this bill provides relief that workers and families need now.
If you have to take time off work sick or your workplace closes down, what are your legal rights? If your child’s school is closed, can you stay home? We're updating this page with all the information you need to know about ongoing action and your existing legal rights around paid sick time and paid family and medical leave.