As Omicron cases surge, and for any future wave of the COVID-19 virus that follows, we must ensure all our country’s workers have guaranteed access to paid sick time to isolate, quarantine, and recover, and to care for loved ones who may be ill and for children whose school or child care facility is closed. We all must tell Congress that as a nation, we have a responsibility to ensure that workers who do the right thing—in terms of their health, the health of their families and the health of all of us—don’t need to risk their jobs and economic security to do so.
Passing emergency paid leave for workers navigating COVID was one of Congress’s first actions when the pandemic struck in March 2020. Studies showed that paid leave prevented over 15,000 new COVID cases a day in 2020. It is unacceptable that these benefits were allowed to expire at the end of 2020—and workers have been left with no national right to time off to care for themselves and their loved ones ever since.
In our 2020 report, Save Families First, we featured the narratives of dozens of workers from 26 states who faced economic insecurity and risks to their health during the pandemic. Their stories show why emergency paid leave was a game-changing tool that helped keep them and their families afloat through this difficult time.
Emergency leave means workers affected by COVID-19 can maintain their income and benefits when they and their family need security the most and know that they won’t lose their jobs because they or their family are sick. With the recent effort to pass the Build Back Better Act stalled, it is all the more urgent that Congress act to reinstate emergency paid leave for every worker—and recommit to enacting a permanent paid family and medical leave program—without delay. Join us in taking action today!